Name: Patti Lee-Hoffmann
Business: Flutter Eyewear
Location: Redwood City, CA
As Patti Lee-Hoffmann approached the age of 50, she and her professional woman friends wanted a more stylish version of the typical drugstore reading glasses. As co-founder of a 600+ employee consulting firm, Patti has plenty of experience setting a goal and achieving it, so she got to work creating the “Manolo Blahniks” of magnifying spectacles. Today, Flutter Eyewear offers chic glasses in many styles and sizes to flatter various face shapes -- and customers can virtually try them on before buying.
Patti told us a little about her business, the very cool charity it supports.
Patti, what did it take to turn your idea into a real product?
We started by hiring consultants and inviting board members with deep knowledge in all aspects of eyewear. A big part of opening an eyewear company is understanding the “presbyopia” market -- that is, the farsightedness some people will experience as they age. Next, we had to procure the raw materials, acquire a more thorough technical knowledge of lenses and hinges and learn about manufacturing.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were starting out in business?
I wished I had known earlier on to trust my own judgment.
What has been most satisfying about starting and running your own business?
It’s very satisfying to gain happy customers who then become great evangelists for Flutter Eyewear. We also get to support a wonderful program by donating a portion of every sale toward training service dogs (better eyesight for two!). I love writing a big check at the end of every year to Canine Companions for Independence.
What has been most challenging or surprising about starting and running your own business?
Recently, because our business requires global sourcing and manufacturing, the fluctuating and “protectionist” trade tariffs put in place by the White House have been frustrating to deal with.
How are you gearing up now for the busy holiday season ahead?
We are currently stocking up on inventory and manpower for the extra help needed during the season ahead.
What do you hope to gain from attending QuickBooks Connect?
I’m a CPA by training, and I love QuickBooks -- hear me roar! I use it personally and also for business. At QB Connect, I’m looking forward to connecting with a new market of customers who have not yet heard of Flutter Eyewear.
QB Community members, how long did it take you to turn your idea into an official business? What steps did you take to make it happen?
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