Jenny Hutt: Co-Founder & Co-Creator of Bunny Eyez

Episode 285

Ever have an idea for a product and dream of creating it? Jenny Hutt did just that. She created one special, wearable, tilt-able and flippable reading glasses that you are going to love. Jenny is the Co-Founder & Co-Creator of Bunny Eyez. Her founding story is awesome and she shares how she created and is scaling her company. Her lessons are gold for anyone thinking about creating the impossible. So much wisdom in this episode, you can’t NOT be inspired. Oh and if she isn’t busy enough, she also is the host of the fabulous podcast, Just Jenny. You don’t want to miss hearing what Jenny has to say. On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

Resources from
this episode:


Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I’m absolutely thrilled to have my next guest. Here we have Jenny Hutt, who is the co founder and CO creator of an incredible product called bunny eyes. I have my pair right here, that is just so so great. Probably for the most part, you’re going to be listening to me versus actually seeing me but these are absolutely incredible. And everybody should have a look at the website. We’ll have all of that in the show notes. But in addition, you may recognize Jenny and her voice from her incredible show that has now been on Sirius XM for over 10 years called just Jenny. And I was lucky enough to be on her show when I was launching my book. And she is absolutely incredible. So as I mentioned, Bunny eyes is these wearable tiltable flippable reading glasses that if you have not grabbed them, you must and if you need readers, but find them sometimes too inconvenient to wear, definitely, this is your pair, and you’re gonna love the backstory, how she decided to create these with her sister absolutely love that. And more than anything, I feel like she is a great example of a co founder who has just figured it out, she saw a problem in the marketplace. And she just went and did it. So welcome, Jenny, very excited, very excited. So let’s start at the beginning. I would love to get a picture of Jenny, as a child. So think of boy back to Jenny’s as a child, were you always creating things? What were you doing? Never.

Jenny Hutt 2:31
I mean, other than creating talk shows in my bedroom with my friends, I wasn’t really doing much of anything. And I think like many, many young women before me and me and my generation, I was born in 1970. So as a kid, my aspirations weren’t really much more than sort of having an education and probably secondary education. But not necessarily a career, which looking back on it is sort of strange, but that really was kind of expected trajectory that I would go to high school, college, probably a graduate school, and then I would get married and have babies and I don’t think I ever really thought about what else I would actually do. So that’s, that’s what I did. I went to college, I went to law school, and then I didn’t want to be a lawyer. So I went to acting school. And then I didn’t want to be an actor, but I met my husband. So I got married, and had two babies, and did like a little bit of legal work here and there. But it wasn’t until around 2005 that I went to work as an executive assistant to my dad and I sort of fell into doing radio show on Sirius XM. So first incarnation was a radio show I did with a co host. And then I launched my own show in 2012. But I never thought about creating products. I never thought about being an entrepreneur, it just wasn’t just wasn’t in the realm of anything that I thought I was ever going to do. But bunny eyes really came to me at a moment when I think and, and this too, I think is really as important almost as this as the launch of the product itself. Is that a point where I felt like, well, I love doing my radio show, and I still love it. And I feel really grateful that I get to do it every day. There was this part of me that was like, I can’t talk about myself anymore. Like I had this feeling of like I need something else to sort of dwell on and and so I think I was open to having some sort of inspiration somewhere. I think there was something in like the reserves of my brain that we’re opening up and available to let creativity in. And this is Hindsight is 2020 I didn’t in the moment understand really any of it. But what One day, I was getting my hair blown out or colored for the gazillions time, because I’m very gray and I went gray quite young. And I was, I guess, when I had the idea, I was probably 47. So now I’m 50 to 47 years old, and I remember being in my kitchen, and someone was doing the words of my hair. And I was so frustrated, because at 44, I went from having perfect vision, to having no vision, essentially, like I couldn’t, everything became fuzzy, like what happens to all of us. And I was getting my hair done. And I was so irritated that I couldn’t look at my phone. And I couldn’t look at my Kindle, and I couldn’t jot down notes. And I couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t see. And I said to myself, This is bizarre. How is it that like, I can’t wear my reading glasses when I’m getting my hair done. Why isn’t there a pair of reading glasses? Like why aren’t there glasses that you can hold in your hand? Which is so bizarre that I was like in that again that why was I thinking about opera glasses, essentially, in my kitchen on a random day. But I had this, this excitement in my stomach that like I hadn’t felt butterflies like that. In I don’t know how long when that day happened. I really and I got so like, crazy protective of the idea, which was just a colonel. I mean, it was not it was like a germ. It was like nothing. But I got so nervous that I ended like, just kept growing. And I remember sharing it with that day. I feel like I told my husband and I told my son. And I don’t know where my daughter was that day or, or what she was doing or why didn’t tell her like at that moment. But I remember telling they were the only people was just my immediate family. Because I’m sure maybe this happened to you that like you realize you have maybe have a good idea. And all of a sudden you get super protective of it. Yeah. Which, in hindsight again, nobody was going to take my idea totally in the moment. I’m just like, Oh, God, I can’t share this with anybody. So I told my husband, I told my son, and really what my son was interested in it. I thought that was exciting because uh, he is often for me, like one of the barometers of like, a good idea that not so good idea. He so he, he was thought it was really cool. And then I kept quiet. And my sister and I went to a beauty parlor salon together one day, we just happen to be at the same point we use the same people were side by side in the chair. And I see that she looks visibly frustrated. So I said, would it why do you why are you frustrated? And she’s like, cause I can’t read. She’s 18 months older than me. So at that moment, I just said, Oh my god. So this is my idea. This is what I’m thinking. And we got on my app, I went on the hero’s zero app that Laurie from Shark Tank created Yeah, and I started going through but is it a here or zero kind of product, and it comes back as a hero because it doesn’t exist and it solves a problem and blah, blah, blah. And and then we start discussing like, what like what went on, by the way, when on every website Alibaba, Amazon, Google and tried to find what I had in my mind’s eye, which which truly cared, just that I could hold them. This was it just that you could take a pair of glasses and hold them in your hands. And I didn’t even think about the wearable aspect of the medical nothing. But this because I wanted them to look cute, and be attractive and stylish, but hold in your hand if you wanted to. So my sister knew somebody who was in the eyewear business. I mean, this is how quickly this all plays out. So now we’re in July when I’m sitting next to my sister. She knew someone who was in the eyewear business, she said you should talk to this woman who was a parent in her daughter’s class in high school years prior. And I said, Okay, great. I went to a diner to meet this mom who was in the IRA business, I brought a napkin we made an NDA on the napkin, because to do that, because of course, protect the idea. And Andrea, our partner, made it even better made the concept even better, because she said if you’re going to oh, sorry, before this, I made them in my kitchen. I broke glasses and put chopsticks I still have the picture of the first prototype of a frame on two chopsticks. It’s so silly, but like I saw it, do you know that feeling when I saw it? So Andrea, I show her that and she’s like, these are great, but they should also be wearable. And I was like, right, that would even be better. Yeah. So that she was then going to China for her own company to do some manufacturing work. So she goes to factory and we had a prototype within four or five weeks, which was Wow, incredible. So now we’re talking August, September October of 2017. And we lost Launched funny eyes, June of 2018. So it was really yeah, really crazy. And sort of along the way, we figured out other things about the product that were really neat like that you could just flip one temple and lie on your side in bed. And then the temple no longer dug into the side of your head, when you’re lying on your side, like that was really cool. And then people love that you could just tilt the front of the frame. So like, if you’re on a soccer field talking to somebody, you could then look at your phone and make your plans at the same time or watch TV and read in bed. And so there were all these features that were emerging that really we didn’t anticipate, or no, but having the product in our hand, we could, we could then see. So it was a very exciting time.

Kara Goldin 10:46
So and where did the name come from?

Jenny Hutt 10:49
So my mom’s name was bunny, we lost my mom in 2008. And my mother had glasses in every room. My mother was extremely stylish, and hilarious, and had these big, beautiful blue eyes and her name was bunny. So we felt it was a really nice way to honor her.

Kara Goldin 11:11
So it’s such a great name. I love love everything about that story. And is your sister still involved in the business?

Jenny Hutt 11:17
Oh, yeah, of course. Yes. My partner too. Yeah, my husband actually came up with the name, because we were going through like, is it but like, we wouldn’t knew we were putting money in the name. And that just kept there were so many incarnations, and then all of a sudden was like applying eyes. And that was like, Yes, like that just

Kara Goldin 11:33
worked. Obviously, you have, you know, created a show and you have your own podcast. Did you ever think like, what if no one wants these glasses? I mean, did you ever I would just think that if I fail, this will be awful. I mean, I didn’t

Jenny Hutt 11:49
care. I have to tell you. I really just I needed. Yeah, I needed them. So I made them. It’s sort of like when you did hint, were you thinking like, everybody has to have it or you knew that you wanted it. Like I knew that I had to make these glasses, whether somebody was going to buy them or not. And once we started protecting some of the idea and some of the concept that we didn’t patent until late which was crazy. I don’t I mean was so backward the way sort of that we were we have zero business plan. We were not well sort of thought out other than the product, which I guess was the most important because that’s what sort of takes you to whatever or wherever you need to be, ultimately, but no, I didn’t care because I knew it was a great idea. And even like, maybe the for every 10 or 12 people that were like, oh my god, I’m freaking out. This is the greatest thing ever. There was one naysayer, I just didn’t care. Which is weird, because I’m not so secure. I’m certainly impressionable. Somebody says something obnoxious or criticized. I feel like everybody and then you will, but not with this with this. Like, I know it’s a good idea. So like, I don’t care what anybody says. And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.

Kara Goldin 13:10
You know what that sound means? Another sale has been made on Shopify. Shopify is an E commerce site that allows you to launch and grow your business, all from one place. With Shopify, you gain access to resources that were once reserved for big businesses, so upstarts startups, and established businesses alike can sell their product and directly connect with their customers. Shopify helps you reach customers online and on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tik Tok, and more. Shopify store owners can also sell their products in physical locations with the Shopify POS app. And you can synchronize all your in person and online sales. I love being able to track all my sales in one place. Shopify makes it easy to see where my sales are coming from to which helps me refine my strategy. Whether you’re an early startup or a seven figure business, scaling your business is a journey of endless possibilities. Shopify makes that journey easier than ever. join millions of business owners and sign up for Shopify today. Go to all lowercase for a free 14 day trial and get full access to Shopify his entire suite of features grow your business with Shopify today go to are a right now. That’s are a I think that there’s there’s a mindset right that you’ve got to get your I talk to entrepreneurs all the time or want to be entrepreneurs who really fear failing. And that’s why they don’t do it. And they think, you know, it’s really hard. And you know what if I fail, I’ve been successful. And so I love your story and your chutzpah of just going in and just doing it, because if you don’t try, it’s never going to be successful anyway, or you’ll never know. And I think that that is, is such a key thing. So you’ve become you’re obviously a super passionate and very creative person and entrepreneur, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?

Jenny Hutt 15:39
I think, it’s certainly not the fantasy that people have that when you have a company or you work for yourself that it’s easy. It’s, it’s not easy. And if I weren’t so passionate about bunny eyes, and I didn’t love what we created as much as I do, I wouldn’t do it. Because it’s hard. There are, there are hills, there are valleys. And it is ongoing, there’s constant shifting and figuring things out and great months are great years and then not so great years, not so great months, and it’s it’s hard. But what I love is that even now when we’ve had to sort of do some restructuring, and we’re going to launch a new website, and and, and having to get more inventory and do some new sprucing up all sorts of sort of changes within like with every company. I’m still so darn obsessed with my product. Like I still, I love my glasses, I can’t wear any other brands like because I love them. It’s it’s just, that’s why I do it. It’s because I really believe in what we’ve created,

Kara Goldin 16:48
ya know, and it’s solving a problem, and it solved a problem for you initially, and you’re helping a lot of people and definitely I personally love having glasses that are not a different color than what they originally came to me. Because I’m not getting color on the side.

Jenny Hutt 17:04
Yeah, it was felt like it was that even with the sleeve, if you put the sleeve on that, on that flat on the template, the glasses, I felt like then the color wasn’t getting onto my hair, because it’s getting onto the sleeve of the glasses. So I didn’t want any I don’t want anything in my hair other than the color. That was really the inspiration.

Kara Goldin 17:21
That’s a really, really good point. So you talked about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur, I’d love to hear if there was, you know, one or two stories in particular that sort of standout is, I don’t know if we’re gonna make it.

Jenny Hutt 17:35
Yeah. So there were two, I think there were two I think. And I don’t know that it was that we weren’t going to make it. I think that if I had to do it again, and as I said earlier, like hindsight is always 2020. By if I had to do it again, I think I would have been more strategic in our launch. We had an incredibly big launch. But it was by happenstance, and we were very, very lucky that Hoda copies from the Today Show, I knew her from work. And I in while walking down the hallway one day at work, I saw her and I told her about the glasses, and I dumped them on the floor of Sirius XM, so she could pick out some pair she wanted. And we happen to have the same power need. And so she picked out a couple pairs and she loved them. And she was like, Oh, I’m gonna put these on TV. But it was so like, like, I’m just it wasn’t, I didn’t there was I wasn’t thinking she was really good. And I love her. She’s the kindest person but like, I would never think or expect anybody to go on the today’s show and talk about my glasses just because we hadn’t launched yet. And so. So she two weeks later went on the Today Show without telling me and started talking about them. So we were wholly unprepared. It was the greatest gift in that we sold out of all of our inventory in a day. But then when you have that big launch, then undoubtedly you’re going to have the valley after. And now we have to come up with inventory. And now because it’s a brand new concept of brand new product, we were it was the first incarnation. So since then we have the glasses are made from a different material. And there’s perfection in sort of the hinge and you learn about your product, the more it’s in the marketplace. So we hadn’t had sort of that research time. Yeah. And that was that felt like struggle. I didn’t think we were gonna have trouble from it. But I felt like it would have been it only a year or two later did I actually have like the sort of the ability to see what I had learned from the experience. But it was like there was our name out there and we couldn’t carry it. We weren’t ready to scale. At that moment at the level that sort of she put us out there So, it was to this, I mean, extraordinarily exciting. And I’m still like, she loves my glasses, and she has every pair. And I will always send them to her because I’m so great and so grateful. But and then we had other people like that, who also were incredibly kind to us just because just because they liked the glasses, and that was remarkable. So that was one thing, I think I have sort of a better strategy for launch and sort of what to do after and make sure we’re adequately prepared. I think we did QVC at a point when we weren’t ready, that like six months later, and we didn’t do as well as I think we could have. And I am always hesitant to blame anyone else. So I try to take ownership of whatever I can. And I gotta say that I wasn’t, I wasn’t ready to maybe to do that. environment. And I didn’t know it well enough. And maybe that was part of it to

Kara Goldin 21:02
really interesting. So maybe being better prepared, like doing your homework on sort of that.

Jenny Hutt 21:09
Yeah, but you know what, I did my homework, but I, and I wonder if you’ve had this happen to you. I think that because I do so much broadcasting, I felt strange walking into QVC and onto their soundstage with their hosts, my role was very much the CO creator of bunny eyes, and I was there to pitch my product, and to do that with them. And so I didn’t bring in my day job, to the discourse. And that ended up being like a weird thing. But I wasn’t sure I was supposed to. And I think I would now have a different way of kind of going about the whole thing.

Kara Goldin 21:46
So interesting. And then the other piece that you mentioned was just, I’ve talked a lot about this that, you know, we’ve had unbelievable press over the years. But if you’re not ready for the press, yeah, right. And, you know, for example, when we were first getting started, we had amazing press, but it was really hard to find our product. And this is at a time when direct to consumer theory was not really an option. And so you just have to be careful about that and much more strategic. So I get that 100%. So thinking back when you were, gosh, you know, we talked about you as as a child, you obviously went to law school, you were thinking you were going to do other things. What advice would you give your, your younger self like knowing? I mean, you’ve had a few different iterations, you’re still iterating, right on sort of what you’re going to do. But I mean, what would you tell yourself?

Jenny Hutt 22:44
I think you hit it earlier, when you talked about people who don’t follow through or execute on an idea because of the fear of failure. I think that I was so afraid, in every aspect of my life, about what people might think of me that I was always hesitant to do. Who knows what, whether it was because I thought someone would say, I didn’t look a certain way or I wasn’t, I was too heavy, or too red haired or not cute enough, or not smart enough or not. Whatever enough. I think I let that ego thing guide me. And I think with age comes the wisdom and understanding that a nobody really cares about you care about themselves. So like all the time we waste thinking everyone’s like going she said, she said they’re not they’re worrying who’s thinking about them. Yeah. And also just, I think that having the joy of entrepreneurship and having a product is it again, it’s sort of about the other thing, it’s not about you, as well, so that I think it was another differentiation that instead of sort of worrying about what I could be as neat, maybe I could have thought about what I could create. And I didn’t really think like that.

Kara Goldin 24:01
You’re obviously very motivating. You seem very motivated. I mean, you’re very busy. And so appreciative that you joined us here today. But is there a quote when you think, Gosh, I gotta get back up and I’ve got to get myself I’ve got to be in the game. I mean, that really kind of gets so yeah,

Jenny Hutt 24:19
there is not a quote, but there is a mantra that I kind of live with. Because I also I used to be really heavy and I lost a lot of weight 14 years ago, and I live my life a certain way in a very sort of orderly kind of way. And what I’ve learned through living that kind of, in a sense, discipline life, is that motivation never works. Like maybe it’ll get you to take one step. But what gets any job and anything done is doing it on a regular basis whether you want to or you don’t. So if that’s with your company, with your family, with your body with your or health, you have to just sort of do the things that you know that you have to do, whether you want to do them or you don’t. And I think that’s sort of how I I try to live my life.

Kara Goldin 25:10
Well, that is a great note to end on. So thank you so much for that. And it was, as I mentioned, such a pleasure Jenny to have you on you’re so motivating and always up to something I can’t wait to hear what’s what’s next. And obviously, you have so many new designs that are coming out too. We’ll definitely have the website and where people can hear just Janee on Sirius as well, five days a week, which is absolutely incredible. And I appreciate everything about you. And hopefully all of the listeners will also definitely go out and buy a pair of bunny eyes. I should tell you that my daughter who does not color her hair yet the first thing that she said, Oh, these are great for lying down on my bed and reading. So I

Jenny Hutt 26:06
feel and actually it was one of my best friends that said that one of my best friends was like, oh my god, I can lie in my bed. I read on my side with what template and I was like, Haley, you’re not getting a royalty. But thank you.

Kara Goldin 26:18
Yes, exactly. So she she really this is for every age. So it’s

Jenny Hutt 26:23
like Lockers without power. So I can send her a pair if she wants. Oh, that’s

Kara Goldin 26:27
amazing. Well, that is that is super, super great. Thank you. Thanks all for listening to this episode. We hope you enjoyed it. And I want to thank all of our guests and our sponsors. And finally our listeners. Keep the great comments coming in. And one final plug. If you have not read or listened to my book undaunted, please do so. You will hear all about my journey, including founding, scaling and building the company that I founded hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks everyone for listening and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening