At 42, Julie Allinson went all-in on her business gamble.
It’s a familiar story by now: Shocked by the cost of eyeglasses, irate customer goes off to create a multi-million-dollar manufacturing firm specializing in cheaper specs. This time, though, it’s not the founders of Warby Parker being profiled in Forbes magazine, but 56-year-old Julie Allinson, who risked pretty much everything she had 14 years ago to launch Eyebobs, specializing in “high-quality, funky reading glasses” available for about $75 online and in stores. (Katie Couric is a fan.) Allinson won’t divulge sales figures, but the company she founded in a space the size of a New York studio apartment now occupies an entire 37,000-square-foot building near downtown Minneapolis. Her target market: “Baby Boomers like me who have some moxie.”