Eyewear retail mogul Angie Stocklin dishes on the “trudge” to nine brands, ecommerce, and her first business as letters to Santa

By Jordan French Jordan French has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 7, 2019

One way to “pivot” is to start nine different businesses and axe or sell off the sloths.

Or at least that was the experience for Angie Stocklin Angie Stocklin, the COO and co-founder of One Click Ventures, an online eyewear retailer and parent to sizable brands like Readers.com, Sunglass Warehouse, and felix + iris. Grit Daily spoke with Stocklin to get the raw version of how she “fell into” ecommerce from what seemed like the least likely profession.

Former school psychologist. Now retail eyewear mogul with 80 employees.

GD: You originally began your career as a school psychologist. How did you wander into entrepreneurship?

Angie Stocklin: My journey to being a business owner began in 2005, when my partner and I decided to start a business. Turning to the online realm seemed like a good jumping off point – we could easily set up everything we needed to do from home, while also maintaining our regular 9-5 jobs. Our first business concept we chose was letters to Santa.

This gave us a chance to explore all the various aspects of running a company, such as building a website, email and paid marketing, and an affiliate program. We enjoyed the process so much, that when the holiday season ended, we looked for our next project. Eventually, we went on to own nine online companies at one point, before eventually selling off all of their brands except for our fastest growing, highest margin brands: eyewear, specifically the Readers.com and Sunglass Warehouse brands. These also happened to be the brands our team had the most conviction around.

GD: You started your company nearly fourteen years ago. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?

AS: The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout my journey as an entrepreneur has been to focus on people first. An intense focus on people starts with hiring which is the single most important thing we do as a company We are not perfect but we work hard to hire people who are fully aligned with our core values and inspired by our mission as a company which is to be the world’s most people focused eyewear company. Once team members are hired, we have a very thoughtful and intentional onboarding process to reinforce expectations that were set during the hiring process and educate new team members on every facet of our business.

With the right person in the right seat that understands our business and what is expected of them, it’s important our team members are cared for and supported every step of the way. We ask a lot out of folks and if they are not inspired by our mission and what we are working together to accomplish as a team, it’s going to be difficult for them to perform at a high level.

GD: What do you credit your success to?

AS: I’ve cultivated a strong company culture and worked to empower individual team members to create One Click’s three successful eyewear brands, therefore, I credit much of my success to the talented individuals who work tirelessly for our brands each and every day.

GD: How big is the team? What does the revenue and growth picture look like?

AS: Over the last seven years, One Click has generated significant sales growth while remaining profitable with a team of 80.

GD: What advice do you have for other women looking to start their own businesses?

AS: My advice for other women looking to start their own businesses is no one should wait to be asked, told, or invited to do something. Additionally, it is okay to fail. As women, I’ve noticed that we’re sometimes afraid to fail and after failure, we are less likely to try again.

I’ve tried to make it known that it’s okay to admit that you’ve failed. Personally, there have been plenty of times that I have had to either admit my failure and let my team fail so that they can ultimately learn from their mistakes and trudge to greatness. To keep a company growing and evolving, it’s important to make sure that your company culture embraces failure. Finally, get a strong support system of friends, family and business professionals. Network with business leaders: get your name out there, offer support to other business leaders, and get opinions.

GD: What’s one conventional wisdom about eye wear that’s just plain wrong?

AS: People tend to believe that reading in dim light is harmful to your eyes, and that is false. Although it can cause eye strain that can make eyes feel tired, it will not damage the health of your eyes or weaken your prescription.

By Jordan French Jordan French has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Jordan French is the Founder and Executive Editor of Grit Daily Group, encompassing Financial Tech Times, Smartech Daily, Transit Tomorrow, BlockTelegraph, Meditech Today, High Net Worth magazine, Luxury Miami magazine, CEO Official magazine, Luxury LA magazine, and flagship outlet, Grit Daily. The champion of live journalism, Grit Daily's team hails from ABC, CBS, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Forbes, Fox, PopSugar, SF Chronicle, VentureBeat, Verge, Vice, and Vox. An award-winning journalist, he was on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur with one sale. Formerly an engineer and intellectual-property attorney, his third company, BeeHex, rose to fame for its "3D printed pizza for astronauts" and is now a military contractor. A prolific investor, he's invested in 50+ early stage startups with 10+ exits through 2023.

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