How This Millennial Built A 7-Figure Business Using Equity Crowdfunding

How This Millennial Built A 7-Figure Business Using Equity Crowdfunding

Giveaway: Enter Aristotle’s giveaway to win a free pair of Ellison glasses! To enter, submit your name and email at and write us a review on iTunes.

3 Key Points:

1. Aristotle shares how he built his company based almost entirely on word of mouth.

2. Learn how the membership model works and why it’s a viable business model.

3. Learn how to build a community of super-engaged fans who love your product and rave about what you do.


Most people I talk to are astonished when I tell them I spend zero dollars in marketing for my company Unconventional Life’s sold-out business accelerators. Just last week, Inc. Magazine named us the #1 Event for Entrepreneurs To Attend In 2018.

You see, most people underestimate the value of community.

You’ve probably heard you need to have a massive community before you can monetize it—but in reality, it’s actually the quality, not the quantity of your members that counts.

Our community at Unconventional Life is humble in size compared to others, but it’s a force to be reckoned with. We consistently sell out our spots through word of mouth, and research shows that’s the most effective kind of marketing there is.

92 percent of consumers trust peer-to-peer recommendations over traditional advertising.

If you’re looking to grow your company, you may need to look no farther than your very own community.

This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I spoke with one millennial founder whose community is the engine of his company. Meet Aristotle Loumis, the founder and CEO of Ellison, a Greece-based, handmade designer eyewear company with an integrated social mission. Ellison offers a $10 VIP Club Membership that grants 50% discounted access to all of its eyeglasses after the purchase of one full-priced pair.

The only catch? Tell Ellison the epic tale of how you lost your first pair.

“Most people lose their glasses in the act of adventure,” Loumis says. “They’re snowboarding, skydiving, honeymooning, tailgating, they’re living life. We believe in the act of losing something you’re finding something bigger, so our call to action is don’t worry get lost.”

Ellison’s “insurance policy” for adventure has attracted a loyal membership base who helped fund its crowdfunding campaign 4x beyond its initial goal, making it one of the fastest and most successfully funded companies on Republic.

Below, learn from Loumis how you can translate your community into capital for your company.

Schroeder: Where did you get the idea for Ellison’s membership model?

Loumis: Picture this. You’d call me on Friday and be like hey Aristotle, I need a couple pairs of shades we’re going skiing this weekend. By Monday I’d get a call from you being like hey listen there was about a foot of snow, it was great skiing, but unfortunately I went off this ramp and while I’m still alive the glasses are not. As a result I’d say to you, hey listen, don’t tell anyone but I’m gonna give you a hookup price. Instead of paying $150 I’d give it to you at $75. I got the idea for Ellison’s model when I started hearing more of these stories. After about 2,000 stories that were submitted I knew we were on to something.

Schroeder: How did you convert these stories into marketing materials for your company?

Loumis: We mobilize our customers as our marketing engines. The only way you get that replacement pair is to tell us a story, that’s all we ask for. We’d say how’d you lose them did you have too many beers at that tailgate? How was that honeymoon did your wife push you off the boat? And then we reward you for that story. We reward our customers for their living experiences, not punish them. They then share their stories organically with their own networks, and everyone knows the best form of marketing is word of mouth. As a result we have a very high retention rate.