Bio-Based, Trend Focused

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 1:30 AM Bio-based acetates have risen as a popular, versatile and eco-friendlier frame material, and this trend toward putting sustainability first is only going to continue. Bio-based frames run the gamut in terms of style, aesthetic and audience, offering something for everyone concerned about the planet, no matter their personal preferences.

Made in USA

By gwendolyn plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 1:00 AM NEW YORK—In late October of last year, The Reshoring Institute, a non-partisan nonprofit that aims to support companies starting, restarting or expanding manufacturing within the U.S., published some new research (https://reshoringinstitute.org/made-in-usa-survey/). Consumers are fond of products made in the USA, The Reshoring Institute found—in fact, their research shows that nearly 70 percent of those surveyed would pay up to 20 percent more for products that they know are made in the U.S.

State and AO Reach New Heights

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:59 AM When Europa Eyewear opened its state-of-the-art factory in Chicago in 2014, the American-made eyewear game changed forever. Europa now produces State Optical, Alan J. and AO Eyewear at its Chicago factory, which employs dozens of artisans who do about 50 percent of the production by hand.

100+ Years of American-Made for ArtCraft Optical

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:58 AM The oldest family owned and operated frame manufacturer in the U.S., ArtCraft Optical is an undeniably important pillar in both its local Rochester, New York community and the country as a whole. The company has been manufacturing workforce and combat frames since 1918, and is currently in the hands of the third generation of the Eagle family.

Thema’s Winning Combo: Italian Designed, American Made

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:57 AM Made in the U.S. and designed in Italy, Thema eyewear occupies a sweet spot in the eyewear world. The Italian-based company with a factory in Miami, Florida produces iGreen Hi-Tech, O-Six, Giorgio Valmassoi 1971 and MIA Private Label Collection at its American factory, offering eyewear that combines international design with American manufacturing.

Made in Brooklyn, With Love from Modo

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:56 AM Modo opened its M Factory in Brooklyn in 2016, fulfilling a decades-held dream for the Modo team. Today, Brooklyn Made, the collection produced at the M Factory, is one of Modo’s most popular collections. It continues to grow from strength to strength—just like the city it calls home.

Hilco Vision’s American Safety

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:55 AM Hilco Vision’s Made in the USA OnGuard safety frame collection is a staple in both the Made in USA and safety eyewear categories. Not all of Hilco Vision’s products are made in the USA, but the fact that their safety line is American-made makes perfect sense. Hilco Vision’s director of marketing and communications told VM last year that the Made in USA story works particularly well in the safety eyewear category, “where the end user of the frames is often working in manufacturing environments that require safety eyewear.” This year, Donna Geruso, Hilco Vision’s sport and safety product manager expanded on this idea, telling VM, “our customers are excited to have a product line where the growth of U.S. manufacturing is literally represented in each prescription frame dispensed.”

Randolph’s American Dream

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:54 AM Randolph was born when former Royal Air Force navigator Jan Waszkiewicz and machinist Stanley Zaleski both immigrated to America with a very specific dream: “to build the world’s best sunglasses,” Randolph’s marketing manager Amy Bean told VM. In 1973, the pair opened a factory in Randolph, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, and built everything from the ground up, including all the machinery. Today, Waszkiewicz’s son Peter Waszkiewicz is at the helm of the company, which still calls Massachusetts its home.

Like Its Home City, Lowercase Never Sleeps

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:53 AM Born and built in New York City beginning in 2016, Lowercase NYC is a newer American-made frame company, one that has been growing as quickly as the city it calls home. Every pair of Lowercase frames is made in the company’s Brooklyn factory, which is located in the famous Brooklyn Army Terminal and is often open for tours. Like other New York City-based businesses, Lowercase faced challenges in 2020—but, also like other NYC businesses, it has since bounced back, and continues to grow.

The McGee Group Plans to Start Making Frames in the U.S.

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 10, 2021 12:52 AM Matthew McGee, marketing and operations director at The McGee Group, loves making plans. The team at the McGee Group creates five-year plans to act on, but McGee also keeps a running 20-year plan. It ends up being more like a vision board, he told VM, but it works well—and sometimes, those visions come true. An early version of McGee’s 20-year plan included the simple statement, “we need to make stuff,” he told VM. That statement was eventually added to The McGee Group’s five-year plan—and now, it’s becoming a reality.

In #FrameOfTheDay, Indies Show Off What’s New and Popular

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Wednesday, September 8, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—There is no shortage of coveted, swoon-worthy eyewear these days, and sometimes all the choices can feel overwhelming for both patients and ECPs alike. Walking into a fully stocked optician’s space can make you feel like a kid in a candy shop, but it can also feel almost impossible to narrow things down and make a choice. For patients, this can lead to indecision and sometimes overlooking the perfect frame, while ECPs might be desperate to show off their favorite eyewear, but might not have the time to do so in every single session.

A Little Labor Day History, and Some Mystery

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 3, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Did you wake up this morning feeling a little more relaxed, knowing you have a three-day weekend ahead of you? Or maybe you woke up somewhere other than home, celebrating the unofficial end of summer with a trip away to the beach, the woods or to see friends and family. Depending on your job, it’s likely that you’re settling into a long weekend today—something we have history and labor unions to thank for.

Indies Embrace Video Content to Ramp Up Social Media

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—There’s no question that maintaining a great social media presence is invaluable for any small business, ECPs included—but there’s also no question that social media can be tricky, fickle and frustrating. Things online are constantly changing, from trends to algorithms to follower counts, and it can feel next to impossible to stay on top of it all. But embracing change doesn’t have to be hard or scary, and sometimes it can lead to fun, exciting new discoveries or hobbies for small business owners.

With Local Artists, San Diego Indie Practice Makes Lens Cloths Cool

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, August 12, 2021 8:30 AM SAN DIEGO—For independent ECPs, few things are more important than connecting with patients and the local community. The local community is everything to a small business, and each help each other thrive in special ways. For many ECPs around the country, things like local fairs, charity drives and holiday events are a great way to get involved with neighbors, but there’s always space to improve on that connection, and to take things to the next level.

Heading Back to School With Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, August 6, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Now that we’re fully into August, many families around the country are also fully into the back to school season. For some, school has already started, while others wait for Labor Day to mark the beginning of the academic year—but either way, back to school is on the brain, and on the eyes. Since March of last year, children’s extended screen time during the school year has been a concern for parents, teachers and ECPs. This August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, an initiative which aims to approach this concern in addition to amblyopia, strabismus and refractive errors, such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism in children. Prevent Blindness reports that “nearly three percent of children younger than 18 years are blind or visually impaired, defined as having trouble seeing even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.”