BUSINESS: Retailers Sam’s Club and Walmart to Launch First Eyewear Collection Created by the Legendary Elton John By Staff Tuesday, November 2, 2021 12:30 AM Elton John wearing Icon for Sam's Club. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson BENTONVILLE, Ark.—In a new and far-reaching collaboration, Elton John, the legendary entertainer, has partnered with Sam's Club and Walmart to create and launch a range of eyewear collections, which will consist of an evergreen, accessibly-priced eyewear collection plus several special series' collections. The line launched at Sam’s Club optical departments yesterday and will bow at Walmart Vision Centers later this week. Eventually, the collection will be available at more than 3,400 Walmart and Sam’s Club Vision Centers in the U.S., the company told VMAIL. Next year, Elton John Eyewear is expected to offer additional frames, as well as to expand its reach to additional locations across Walmart Inc. globally. The launch of Elton John Eyewear also furthers Walmart’s support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s mission. For the eyewear project, Walmart Inc. will donate a minimum of $1 million annually from the Elton John Eyewear collection to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation to increase HIV education and awareness and encourage individuals to take the first steps toward a healthier future.Elton John collaborated closely with the retailers on the development of the brand, with each pair inspired by his iconic style and famed music career. Each frame was given a name by Elton himself, like “Rocketman,” a nod to his chart-topping hit and most recent Academy Award Nominated film of the same name, “A-List” reflecting moments when he was at the peak of his career, and “Prodigy,” representing his rise from a shy piano prodigy in the UK to international celebrity. From their shapes and colors to their lenses, the goal of the collection was to ensure that there is a frame for every fan. “Elton John Eyewear celebrates confidence, self-expression, and authenticity,” John said. “The line is designed to have something for everyone, so no matter who you are, you can always 'Look Yourself.' It’s not just about glasses, it’s about changing the way people see themselves.” Elton John wearing Diva for Walmart. Photo Credit: Sean Thomas“Our customers and members are going to love this collection. We’re thrilled to celebrate Elton John’s creativity and iconic style by launching a fun, on-trend eyewear collection that will help customers feel their best, all at an everyday low price,” said Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and chief customer officer, Walmart US. “On top of that, we’re proud to shine a light on the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and donate a portion of the sales to their important mission.” “We know Sam’s Club members and Walmart customers look to us for quality, on-trend brands at an amazing price, and the Elton John Eyewear Collection delivers just that,” said Megan Crozier, chief merchant, Sam’s Club. “We’ve created an eyewear line using materials, elements and contours across expressive silhouettes, making the brand feel like luxury at an affordable price, while also telling Elton John’s phenomenal story.” The initiative is a multi-faceted program across the two Walmart, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) businesses, and is a first in eyewear. A Sam's Club spokesperson told VMAIL, "We often look for ways for Walmart and Sam’s Club to collaborate where it makes sense for our members and customers. The launch of Elton John Eyewear gave us the right opportunity to reach more of our shoppers, expanding access to an incredible collection of products across our business." The exclusive, evergreen collection, called The Foundations Collection, is now available for purchase nationwide in Sam’s Club Vision Centers and on SamsClub.com and at Walmart later this week. The Foundations Collection includes 60 frames in total: 36 frames that are unique to Sam’s Club and 24 frames that are unique to Walmart. The frames will retail between $95-$100 and are available in prescription, non-prescription, sun and reader categories. Each frame is embolized with a signature temple tip silhouette with “E” Star mark and Elton John iconic star brand detailing. All details were carefully planned and crafted, with frames featuring vibrant color attributes, elevated metals, and stones. Sam’s Club will also offer its members two additional collections that celebrate Elton John’s confidence and self-expression. The Capsule Collection, designed for collectability, showcases Elton John’s musical journey. “The Formative Years” (Capsule I), represents Elton’s childhood and time as a student in music, so the eyewear reflects its most classic and conventional looks. “The Working Musician” (Capsule II) continues the story, showcasing the time when Elton John discovers Rock and Roll is his true calling. As such, the Capsule II offers next generation styles. Currently, five Capsule Collections are planned. Then, in time for the holidays, Sam’s Club will launch The Master Collection. Drawn from Elton’s personal collection, Elton John Eyewear will recreate and reissue his most iconic looks with “collector” frames that are only available at SamsClub.com. Each frame will be signed, numbered and sold in limited quantities, with retails starting at $350. Elton John wearing Bell Bottom for Sam's Club. Photo credit: Sean Thomas In its statement, the company said, "Walmart and Sam’s Club are committed to providing quality, affordable and accessible healthcare in the communities they serve. That includes offering affordable fresh foods and other grocery items, household essentials, and reduced-price prescriptions, along with a broad assortment of high-quality items at a great value, like Elton John Eyewear." Elton John’s career achievements to date are unsurpassed in their breadth and longevity. He is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time, with one diamond, 40 platinum or multi-platinum, and 26 gold albums, over 50 Top 40 hits, and he has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. He holds the record for the biggest-selling single of all time, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” which sold over 33 million copies. ‘Diamonds’ the Ultimate Greatest Hits album, reached the Top 5 of the UK album charts on its release in November 2017, becoming Elton’s 40th UK Top 40 album in the process. This release celebrated 50 years of his songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. August 2018 saw Elton named as the most successful male solo artist in Billboard Hot 100 chart history, having logged 67 entries, including nine No. 1s and 27 Top 10s. In August 2021, Elton achieved his 68th Hot 100 hit with single "Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)," featuring Dua Lipa. The popular track marked his record return to the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 40, extending his run to 50 years. He now holds the longest span of Hot 100’s Top 40 appearances in history. In May 2021, he was honored with the iHeartRadio Icon Award in recognition of his incredible influence on music and pop culture. In January 2018, Elton announced the “Farwell Yellow Brick Road” Tour at New York’s Gotham Hall. Encompassing five continents, and over 350 dates, the tour kicked off September 2018 and marks his retirement from touring after more than 50 years on the road. In 2019 it was named Billboard’s “Top Rock Tour” and Pollstar’s “Major Tour Of The Year.” To date, Elton has delivered more than 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries since launching his first tour in 1970. 2019 also saw the release of Rocketman and global bestselling autobiography, ME. An epic fantasy musical motion picture of Elton’s life, Rocketman has been a commercial and critical hit, taking close to $200m at the box office. The film has won an Oscar, two Golden Globe Awards and a Critics’ Choice Award and garnered BAFTA nominations. Its soundtrack was also nominated for a GRAMMY Award. In 1992, Elton John established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which today is one of the leading non-profit HIV/AIDS organizations and has raised over $515 million to date in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. In June 2019, President Emmanuel Macron presented Elton the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest award, for his lifetime contribution to the arts and the fight against HIV/AIDS.