Business name and what it does:
Eye-Lids is a company that manufactures and sells fabric eye patches for babies, children, and adults. The patches were initially created to help kids with the treatment of Amblyopia as a soft and fun alternative to the traditional use of pirate patches or adhesive patches. Though its main source of business is for children patching for amblyopia, these patches are also very useful for post surgery care, double vision, injury and much more for people of all ages. Eye Lids eye patches feature many fun and pretty patches that attach right to your glasses and make patching fun for kids. The amazing founder and creator, Lisa Smith and her team, always go out of their way to provide the best customer service possible. Lisa has also been known to make tiny patches for a few children to have matching patches with their American girl dolls.
Eye lids offers a variety of types of patches. There are styles that attach to the glasses, and a pirate patch style which has a soft, wide elastic that goes around the head. The patches are also made to custom fit each style of glasses weather it is a plastic frame or a metal frame that has nose pieces. The patches made for glasses without nose pieces include an elastic and clip that attach the patch onto the glasses at the nose bridge. There are also patches made for metal framed glasses with nose pieces. these patches have a little hole for the rubbery nose piece to go through to hold it onto the glasses. All patches are made with a curve in the patch so you can blink and open your eye comfortably when wearing them. These wonderful patches are also machine washable and built to last making them durable for even the most adventurous and dirty children.
There are lots of fun fabrics to choose from, dinosaurs, sports, butterflies, cats, and some fun characters! Patching is a stressful journey both for kids and their parents, caregivers. Eye Lids eye patches can help with patching, by offering a soft, fun option. Eye Lids has a bunch of fun designs, that will help with kids’ motivation, and self esteem through their patching journey.
Eye Lids offers a wholesale program to Pediatric Eye Doctor offices, and Vision Centers across North America. They are able to purchase patches at a discounted rate, and offer them to their patients. It is a wonderful way to have our patches available to many children.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
Lisa Smith is the founder and creator of Eye Lids. She came up with this idea when she was struggling to get her daughter Madison to patch. When Lisa’s daughter, Madison, was three years old, she was told that she needed to patch for the treatment of Amblyopia. Finding a comfortable option for patching was nearly impossible. The adhesive patches seemed to be the only option available and for any parent who has tried adhesive patches on their children, they know how uncomfortable they can be and how upsetting it is to get your child to wear them. Lisa then with a relative knowledge of sewing and the help from her mother Lois, came up with the idea of a patch that would attach to glasses and be comfortable and fun for her daughter to wear.
Lisa started with an idea that utilized a cotton ball in a sleeve attached to the glasses that would press against her daughter’s eye to keep it closed. She quickly realized that having the patch pressed against her eye wasn’t very comfortable and knew that she had to create something that covered the eye but left it space to open. This led her to creating the patches we know and love today that have a curved shape that allows the eyes to blink and open comfortably. Within a few years of patching her daughter’s vision had greatly improved and she began to question if she could offer her patches to other families to help them with their patching journeys. Lisa launched a website and has now been selling these patches for 12 years on her website, an Etsy site, and through many eye doctors offices and Pediatric Ophthalmologists across North America and overseas. Lisa knows how important it is for parents to make their children happy. She takes pride in doing her best to fulfil the needs of all her clients and is always willing to go the extra mile to fill special requests so don’t hesitate to ask!
Lisa found that when children have to wear an eye patch, it’s very difficult to help them understand why they’re wearing them. She thought that if we can put some fun into the process, it makes it a little easier for everyone. Lisa found that when children have a voice, are able to choose what they have to wear, or are able to have some choice of patches, it’s a huge motivator for them. Lisa is always on the hunt for new fabrics that children might like and does her best to keep a great selection of patches that kids will enjoy wearing. She is always willing to work with a customer, if they are looking for a specific character, or colour that their child might like, she will do her best to find something the child will like. Many parents have contacted her, to ask about making custom patches. This has also been asked for medical reasons, where a patch needs to be custom made to fit a child’s face, where they have a physical attribute which challenges the shape or size of the patch. Lisa has been very accommodating.
The challenges the business/market is facing
Eye Lids faces many challenges as all other companies do. Eye-Lids relies heavily on its online presence. Online marketing is a large part of where Eye-Lids finds it’s customers and it can be an expensive, and complicated journey. Marketing a product that is not just geared towards the local market, but is a niche product that has a very selective market of buyers can make advertising very challenging. Lisa has reached customers all over the world, and would like to continue to grow. The world of advertising and marketing online is complicated, with Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads, posts, blogs, increasing visibility and generating quality leads, choosing the right social media platforms, consistent execution of marketing activities. Lisa is always working on some kind of marketing project, to try to reach new customers.
Eye lids is always looking to find new methods of connecting with new customers. For Eye Lids, they have found that for this type of business, the most successful way to find new customers, and really market their product, is to attend trade shows/conferences. This allows the company to be seen, up front and in person with many specialists in North America. Eye-Lids really values building connections and meeting people face to face at conferences is a great way to build word of mouth and spread knowledge about the company.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
Lisa would argue that some opportunities you have to reach out and find for yourself. Lisa attended her first trade show in 2012 in Toronto. She said that attending this trade show as well as a few other trade shows since has really increased her networking and opened the door for her company’s growth working with doctors’ offices. At these trade shows, Lisa has had the pleasure of meeting many amazing companies working in the same field and has connected her with many doctors across the nation. To continue with Lisa’s initiative seeking personality, she also reaches out personally to potential clients and doctors offices donating sample packages of patches. By doing this she has made connections with many doctors’ offices and gained many new clients.
Advice to Other Businesses
Lisa would advise all other business owners to keep going, you have to be the face of your business idea, get out there and sell your product. Try to stay organized, it will save time and money, and keep your business personal. Create unique content on your website, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it can be overwhelming, trying to create a website, and reading your analytics page, there’s lots of information to decipher through. Ask your customers what they would like to see offered, social media is a wonderful source for connecting with people. Automate as many things as possible. It will also save time and money. If it’s a great product, you will be successful, but it will only be seen if you are assertive, persistent, and determined. If you have a population, you think would benefit from your product, send samples and get your name out there. Always remember that this business happened because of you, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back now and then!