In this episode, Roger Hardy and I discuss how Roger has helped build Canada's most successful vertical integration e-commerce company and achieved one of Canada's largest e-commerce exits.
Roger Hardy is the CEO of KITS online eyewear retailer. Roger’s entrepreneurial journey began with a single phone line, a 14k modem, and a credit card, building an online company, and selling it to a San Francisco-based More.com at the height of the Dot Com Boom all before the age of 30. An original disruptor, he and his sister next launched Coastal.com owners of Clearly. Under Roger’s leadership, the company became the world's leading digital eyewear retailer, going public on NASDAQ before being acquired by Essilor for $450 million cash.
Among Roger’s proudest achievements are creating Canada’s most successful vertically integrated e-commerce company, achieving Canada's largest eCommerce exit at the time. When Roger Hardy isn’t busy helping bright young companies and minds succeed, he loves spending time with his wife, son, and three daughters. Together, they run the Hardy Family Foundation, a charity aimed at empowering communities in Canada and around the globe. Roger also established the Hardy Endowment Fund at Bishop’s University which provides tuition support for students in need.
[00:16] Building a Digital Marketplace vs. A Brick and Mortar
[07:38] KITS’ Catalyst for Innovation in the Eyecare and Eyewear Industry
Roger’s background and previous experience prior to KITS
[13:22] Are Other Organizations Leaning Into Similar Technology?
[15:40] Learning to Stay Innovative
[18:15] Final Words
“Imagine if we could do our eye exam online. Imagine if there was an AI that would read that eye exam. Imagine if the AI would actually be better at reading my eye exam, eye information, and cornea data, than a human being. And we quickly found that that was actually the case.” - Roger Hardy
“I think there's still so much more to do around technology, mobile commerce, and the digital experience for customers. That's where we want to have a chance to lead and be innovative and be in front of the market.” - Roger Hardy
“There's such a difference between working in the business and working on the business. Working on the business is the only thing that's really gonna help you scale it. Sometimes when you're working in the business, you're not looking at those processes and those things because you're so deeply entrenched in it that you don't lift your head above to see the bigger, broader picture of what you could be building.” - Natalie Born
Connect with Roger
Follow Roger Hardy on LinkedIn
Visit https://www.Kits.com and use coupon code: FREEKITS to get your first pair of KITS glasses for free
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