Nassim Khadem Reporter

Nassim covers the accounting and tax rounds for BRW, as well as general business news. She previously worked for The Age newspaper covering general news, state politics and economics.

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Sneak a peek at specs online

Published 17 May 2012 05:05, Updated 17 May 2012 10:10

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Sneak a peek at specs online

The online spectacles store Sneaking Duck was a finalist in the BRW and AMP Capital Shopping Centres New Retailer of the Year category – it won that category but then ended up taking out the Innovation in Retail category where it was not a finalist on the recommendation of the judges.

Its success is perhaps no surprise when we consider the calibre of the team behind it – three of the four founders (Jodie Fox, Michael Fox and Mike Knapp) were behind the renowned Shoes of Prey online shop site for design-it-yourself women’s shoes.

When the three partnered ex-Google Australia strategist Mark Capps on Sneaking Duck they had one main goal: to transform the $1 billion Australian prescription glasses industry.

Since they started the site in October last year, their aim has been to turn glasses from being just an optical necessity into a trendy fashion accessory through a fun-filled and easy buying experience. Sneaking Duck’s online store allows customers to see what frames look like on their faces using the site’s virtual mirror. First, you try online by uploading a photo from your webcam or Facebook page. Next you can get a second opinion from your friends and family through emailing the images or sharing them on Facebook. And if that’s not enough, if you live in inner-Sydney, the company will courier five frames to your door to try before you buy.

Capps, the chief executive and co-founder, says sales are now at double the rate Shoes of Prey did at the same stage of growth. By cutting out brand licensing fees, middle men and offline retail costs, he says Sneaking Duck can keep prices low.

With about 9 million Australians wearing glasses, and spending hundreds of dollars on a new pair every two to three years on average, this business may be very lucrative.

Judges verdict: A bold strike in an industry ripe for the taking.

To see the other winners:

The Body Shop (Multi Channel Retailer of the Year)

Woolworths (Sustainable Retailer of the Year)

Bankwest (Successful Retail Marketing Campaign of the Year)

Dan Murphy’s (Outstanding Retailer of the Year)

Aussie Farmers (Best Customer Experience)

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