In episode 280 of Total Retail Talks, Editor-in-Chief Joe Keenan interviews Bradford Manning and Bryan Manning, co-founders of Two Blind Brothers, ultra-soft designer clothing funding blindness research. Listen in as Bradford and Bryan discuss the brand story and why they founded Two Blind Brothers, their lack of prior retail experience, and the charitable aspect of the company (100 percent of company profits are donated to the Foundation Fighting Blindness). They share why funding eye disease research is so personally important to them, how Two Blind Brothers is making an impact in the community for families dealing with eye disease diagnosis, and the company's successful Shop Blind Challenge. Bradford and Bryan discuss the loyalty of their customer base and community, the power of social media and storytelling in the brand's growth, and where Two Blind Brothers is looking for growth in 2021.
At the age of seven, brothers Bradford and Bryan Manning were told they would go blind from a condition called Stargardt disease, a juvenile form of macular degeneration. Instead of letting their diagnosis set them back, it became their mission to help others. In May 2016, the brothers came together to start a clothing brand, Two Blind Brothers, which makes ultra-soft clothing and donates 100 percent of the profits to pre-clinical research to cure blindness. Two Blind Brothers has become one of the fastest-growing charitable brands in the country from people sharing the story. They attribute the success to the strong support coming from the visually-impaired community as well as endorsements from leaders in social impact like Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg.
The brothers grow their project through social media. They're members of the Facebook Small Business Council, and their holiday campaign called, “Shop Blind”, has been recognized as one of the most successful advertising efforts during the 2019 holiday season. The videos from Two Blind Brothers have been viewed by over 50 million people. Bradford and Bryan are based in New York City. They both graduated from the University of Virginia and are originally from Keswick, Virginia.