A week prior to a friends request to take over his friends webshop in glasses for night driving I stumbled upon this video. It’s about the biggest factory in sunglasses in the world: Luxottica. It’s amazing to see what they own and how far spread their influence is.
Shocking isn’t it? Back to my little store in my corner of the world, after seeing this video I felt like rebelling against the big eye-wear giant. After a few days of shipping a few yellow glasses a day my first trip to the night view glasses wholesale had arrived. Of course I could have ordered a batch of yellow tinted glasses online and have them shipped to me, but I figured it would be more fun to drive a few hours to meet the wholesales person and have a peek in their showroom. Also it gave me an opportunity to pop the question that lingered in my head: Am I owned by Luxottica now as well?
After spending an hour or so in the sunglasses wholesale showroom – I felt like a kid in a candy store – I bravely asked “are you owned by … “. “No we are not”… “So you are a competitor?” “Hardly, we can’t compete, but we do have our own market”. So there is a world outside Luxottica, and I am part of it.
Night view eyewear
After selecting my bit of glasses for night driving I shopped a bit for my private eyes and put the boxes with yellow glasses in my car and drove home. There I cleaned up some cupboards in my house – it’s amazing how small the stock is in sunglasses – and neatly organized the night view glasses in small boxes. At night we had a little fashion show on our own, playing Ali G and John Goodman feeling all cool in our yellow tinted glasses.
People love diversity but eventually it’s the price that matters when it comes to night view eyewear
After a few weeks it became clear to me that people don’t care what they look like wearing night view eyewear when they’re driving. It’s not a fashion business. I could tell by seeing that how ever fancy the models are in my shop, people buy the least expensive model. So in yellow lens sunglasses there is no vogue. Only maybe when your name is Ali G. and your eyewear becomes face jewelry.
So the eyewear industry is dominated by a single Italian company that has been able to keep prices artificially high whilst reaping huge profits from consumers who are been given the optical illusion that they have a choice, but in reality they don’t.
So where is the competition in eyewear?
If you listened closely to the video, Luxottica seems to have a few competitors. My heart made a little jump when they mentioned ‘webshops’. Yes! There is a change for revolution! (cough cough ahem ahem). However, there is one cool webshop that does things different and was mentioned in the video: Warby Parker. And see, there it is, they describe their story as:
Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
Ah, rebellious spirit, that’s what we want to hear.
Are you looking for a pair of polarized safety glasses? Visit my nachtbril (glasses for night driving) webshop 🙂