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Young entrepreneurs revolutionize eyewear fashion

Shown from left to right: Host Raymond Gutierrez and the Owners of Sunnies Specs, Finance Director Eric Dee, Marketing Director Georgina Wilson Burnand, Creative Director Martine Cajucom, and Operations Director Bea Soriano-Dee at the recent launch of Sunnies Specs.

Shown from left to right: Host Raymond Gutierrez and the Owners of Sunnies Specs, Finance Director Eric Dee, Marketing Director Georgina Wilson Burnand, Creative Director Martine Cajucom, and Operations Director Bea Soriano-Dee at the recent launch of Sunnies Specs.

Eyewear, whether shades or prescription glasses, has become part of fashion fueling a thriving domestic industry.

Sunnies Studios is the latest entrant in the market. The group is composed of five young entrepreneurs, who are actually already engaged in the fashion scene and capitalize their unique advantage.

Entrepreneurs Eric and Bea Dee, Martine Cajucom and Georgina Wilson is not just making news locally with its aggressive positioning and competitive pricing. The group has been in the sunnies or the shades and sunglasses business, but it recently expanded into the prescription glasses. Sunnies Specs is its optical line division.

“While Sunnies is more of the adventurous kind of sunglasses, we’ve considered, due to increasing demand and queries, to broaden the brand to optical lenses. This led us to more researches and studies on the ideal package, the perfect price points and the right amount of fashion sense,” said Eric Dee, company director for finance.

Currently, the company has 40 physical stores for Sunnies and intends to end 2016 with five more but Sunnies Specs is becoming more of a focus now.

Already, Sunnies Specs is going strong with already 3 pilot stores in Glorietta 2 in Makati, inside Bonifacio Global City and at the Megamall. It will add 2 more shops within the month of July and five more before end-2016.

The company is also investing more for Sunnies Specs as they have to put up state-of- the-art examination equipment and refraction. On top of that, Sunnies Studios employs 2 to 3 resident optometrists that will walk customers through the process.

“For Specs, we’ll be more aggressive. Not only because this is a new brand but of the need to have people realize their eye needs as corrective and as protection, in the least,” Dee said.

Dee said that they cater mostly to the younger crowd. Thus, it invests for its photo shoots outside of the Philippines. Sunnies and Sunnies Specs campaigns were shot in countries like Japan, Ausrtralia, Los Angeles in the US and more recently in Miami.

“It is something that reflects our brand. And everything is well worth the investments we spent for promotions,” said Dee.

GLOBAL EXPANSION

For now, the company would like to keep everything company-owned although it plans to go for possible franchise for Sunnies. These outlets maybe located in Davao and Iloilo.

“We’re sure for now how much we’re allocating for expansion but we’re ready to go global,” said Dee.

Within the year, Dee said Sunnies will be available in California through the online stores. The brand is now available, via the same platform, in seven ASEAN countries. Physical expansion is the next phase of the company’s global plan.

COMPETITIVE PRICING

While good quality eyewear can really be expensive, Sunnies and Sunnies Specs are both priced competitively. This could be one major reason that the younger generation are going for Sunnies. This is also in keeping with the price sensitive domestic market.

For instance, Sunnies costs only P399 to P599 a pair and Specs at a fixed price point of P1,999 per pair, frame and multi-coated lens included.

Both spectacles and shades are sold in one store because “most people do not know that they are in need of optical glasses.” When customers buy Sunnies, there is a good chance of discovering that they are also in need of reading glasses.

“Most of the time, they go to our shop get in love with the glasses because of style not knowing that when the doctors asked them to have their eyes checked, they too are in need of glasses,” Dee said.

Sunnies Studios does not only offer affordable eyewear but Dee said they make sure they have quality frames and lenses. They have suppliers from Europe and China for the frames and the lenses are sourced from Korea and India.

Packaging is the only piece assembled locally. The cases oftentimes undergo overhaul in sync with promotions and seasonality. Cases and packaging change regularly with the season’s collection.

Sunnies are also sold online in step with the expansion of physical stores. It is available via fashion site Zalora and through direct selling firm Avon.

“We’re one of the brands that Avon has brought into the company. We’re exclusively designing for Avon, as well,” Dee said.

GROWTH

Since 2014, the company has sold more than a million pairs of Sunnies with as much as 200 stock keeping units (SKUs) of frames available at any given time.

Every month, the company introduces about 10 to 20 new designs while retiring older frames to keep attuned to new fashion trends.

“The new stocks make them want for new pairs. We make sure that our product fits perfectly with our consumers, size and style-wise. We realized before we ventured into this that there is a gap between affordability and style. And this is what we want to address. We are fashion forward but we never compromise style for price,” Dee explained.

Sunnies Studios has a creative team that works day in and day out to come up with new, trendy and stylish pieces both for Sunnies and Specs. The idea is to match one’s eyewear with his or her everyday fashion.

By keeping one brand, Sunnies can leverage on their pricing unlike other eyewear shops that carry multiple brands and therefore multiple pricing. Sunnies Specs has only one brand with one fixed price point. “so you’ll need not worry that you budget of R2,000 will become P3,000 or P4,000.”

Dee said Sunnies Studios expects to continue the enormous growth the company is enjoying as sales had been increasing from a high double digit to even triple digits, at some point in time.

The group is already moving further investing in a different field. Sunnies Studios will be brewing via Sunnies Café at the BGC.