Affordable Designer Eyewear: Q & A With Gretchen Denslow of Eye Candy Eyewear
Any stylish gal and gentleman know that on the days when you’re running out the door, your whole look isn’t going to be as perfect as on days when you carefully plan out your entire outfit. (For me it's been skinny black pants and black tunics with a wool trench and booties..nothing too creative. ) It is of course inevitable to have those rushed mornings and if you are me, I cannot seem to get anything together before ten a.m lately. It's been sooo cloudy in my defense and I have not been sleeping so well. Couldn't have anything to do with my new obsession with Black Mirror, right??! That show is CRAY. And I am so ready for the return of The Bachelor. I am so ready to watch Nick Viall finally hopefully find true love. I mean the 5th time's a charm, right? Hey..no judgement here Nick. I am your biggest fan rooting for you handsome fellow. Gretchen and I are planning a fun event around The Bachelor so if you hate sunglasses and just love that show..scroll to the bottom of this post! I swear I am addicted to television.
Anyway back to my current style. I have been relying on the best accessory that helps to quickly throw everything together and that is the trusty pair of sunnies. A stylish pair of sunglasses can give you that touch of chic while hiding eyes that might be lacking lashes. Argh. A fabulous pair of sunglasses will also give the illusion of putting thought into your outfit and really I am convinced you cannot own too many pairs. I personally like switching them up daily. Still have twenty five pounds to lose to so for me, a new pair of sunglasses is just what I need to update my wardrobe. I refuse to buy anything new in this current size. I know you get me here ladies! Sunglasses like red lipstick can change EVERYTHING. I promise. And I cannot even imagine how you prescription eye glass wearers only own one pair...that's like a crime. And men...this is your chance to express yourself. Le Sigh.
Thank goodness Gretchen left the attorney world and decided to join in the entrepreneur community and open up my favorite eyeglass boutique. Shopping for glasses can be so intimidating and really just crazy expensive. I long for a designer label and a designer look without breaking my very not designer bank accounts. I also adore finding some unique gems and really adore everyone not having the same thing I am wearing. I live in a very small town and that part can be a tad tricky. I also find Gretchen's story fascinating so I naturally had to interview her for my blog. She is incredibly inspiring and you just cannot help but want to see this local business become everyone's favorite place to shop and hang out.
Q & A WITH GRETCHEN:
-Attorney to Entrepreneur luxury eyewear shop?! I love this. Tell me a a little bit more about why you decided to leave law behind and why eyewear?
The practice of law gave me no outlet for creativity, and I wanted my life to be about more than money. I’ve always wanted to have my own business, but I never knew exactly what I wanted to do. My father has been in the optical business for 40 years (he’s a pediatric ophthalmologist) so I had a background in optical shops. It made sense to combine my passion for artistic endeavors and his knowledge and experience in optometry and optical sales.
-How did you chose the location for Eye Candy?
I looked for almost 2 years to find the perfect location – there was one other location we considered but ultimately, The Vineyard is perfect for my business. I wanted to be out south because I grew up in south Tulsa and I feel a connection with this part of the Tulsa community. I want to take care of my friends and family – this location just made sense to me.
-The eyewear you are carrying features some of the coolest optical style makers out there? How did you chose them? What attracted you to their brands?
I personally selected my brands in NYCity at Vision Expo in April. I spent 3 days visiting all of the independent booths and chose brands that no one else in Oklahoma carries. I chose brands that had a story that I felt was relatable, and I loved the style, and the quality was fantastic. I carry nothing made in China. Everything is made in the USA or Europe.
-Fave sunglasses of all time in your shop right now? You? Wes? And why?
Randolphs are classic aviators. I love the Amelia. It’s in my permanent collection because it fits my personal style. It’s great for every day. I’ve also been wearing the new Velvets because they are so much fun and I can dress my mood. They’re reasonably priced so they make a great second pair of sunglasses. My optician, Wes, is a Shwood guy. Shwood makes handmade products with wood detailing on every frame. Made in Portland. Super cool.
-What can we expect when we come into Eye Candy Eyewear? What sets you apart from any other place in the world?
Our goal is to provide a customer service experience. We have a relaxed atmosphere and we provide a personalized style service for every person that walks through the door. We will find the perfect glasses or sunglasses for you! We offer drinks as well, so customers can feel comfortable while they’re browsing. We don’t pressure, we merely assist. We are personal consultants for your face. We have a full time optician to help with fittings and repairs and an Optometrist to check your vision. We’re a one-stop shop. We also pride ourselves on not having too many frames on the shelves – customers won’t feel overwhelmed. We do the shopping for you, so you don’t have to dig through lots of frames that you don’t like.
-You mentioned hosting some girls nights once a month. What is your ultimate vision for those events? I also love the idea of the men's events too! Can you elaborate?
Ladies Night is meant for socializing and fun. There’s never any pressure to purchase. We want people to become familiar with our brands and with glasses in general. We want our ladies to sip a cocktail and try everything on – just for fun! We’re working on a plan for a men's night as well. Either to help them shop for their ladies, or to educate them on our men's products. There are so many cool men's products that men haven’t seen yet!
-Beyond sunglasses, what are some of your favorite brands?
I love Etnia Barcelona for optical. It fits so many people well and the quality and variety is great. Something for everyone. We carry Tom Ford and Prada as well, and they are classic with a twist. They’re the only 2 name brands that we carry. We pride ourselves on that. We are getting ready to add 2 more independent lines, one of which is children's. Jackson Rogers – check out their website, you’ll love them!
-Any tips or tricks up your sleeve for keeping sunglasses in perfect condition?
Yes!! DON’T PUT THEM ON TOP OF YOUR HEAD!! This stretches them out in ways that can’t be fixed all the way. We can only adjust them back a certain amount and they stay poorly fitted. Either hang them on the front of your shirt or put them back in their case. I would suggest having extra cases around. Even a soft case is better than nothing. And never set them down on their lenses – they’re easily scratched.
-What fashion influences does Eye Candy Eyewear draw from?
My personal style went into Eye Candy, which I would call classic with a twist of modern, to keep it fresh. I love Ralph Lauren runway, Alice and Olivia, and Rag and Bone. I like rich textures and colors in a modern style. I prefer timeless over trendy.
-What celebrities would you love to have come in or send sunnies to?
I would love local celebrities to wear my products! I’m a sports fan so Russell Westbrook would definitely be on my list.
-The most exciting parts about starting a business have been...??
…all decisions are mine. I design the store, pick out the merchandise, and decide how to sell it. Whether right or wrong, I’m not at the mercy of someone else’s opinions or taste. It’s mine. Also, I love helping people find something that they love. That’s what this is all about. Making people love what they put on their faces every day!
-The most challenging parts of starting a business have been..?
…Letting go. I have to trust other people to do things for me. That’s hard to do.
-3 words that describe Eye Candy Eyewear?
Unique. Modern. Service.
-How important is it to find the right frame for your face? And how do you help people with this process?
I know every frame in my store, and I’ve tried most of them on myself. Knowledge of the frames is the best way for me to help my customers. I can tell right away what frames will look good on a person’s face, and I can walk around the store and pull samples for you to try on. I really encourage people to try everything on because that’s part of learning what looks best. I have some very talented people working in my store with a good eye for face shape and frame style. It’s really about having a good eye.
As you go through your closet this week imagine each piece with a great pair of booties and an even greater pair of sunglasses...maybe even a pair of gold vintage earrings and a textured belt. Accessories can just take that boring outfit to a whole new level. I am obsessed with the brands Eye Candy Eyewear has brought to Tulsa. And I am so eager to watch Gretchen find so much success in her dream. Check out their site and inventory here. And if you mention you saw this post you will receive 10% off your entire order. Local loves, you must get in there and see this incredibly beautiful space and try some glasses on. I am loving my Velvet "Michelle" sunnies. The color is over the top amazing and who could resist a good cat eye??! Highly recommend you give this one a try and snap a selfie!
Be sure to add me on facebook and add Eye Candy too ! We are in the process of planning a Bachelor watch party for a Monday night in January with wine and pizza and comfy clothes and lots of fun prizes. I mean some percentage off your favorite frame just for guessing who is going to go home? Are you kidding me. I want to spend every Bachelor night here! You can shop too! The whole night is going to be memorable.
So now my only question is what frame are you going to treat yourself to for 10% off??! Or is there someone in your life we should give your wish list to?! Hey---Gretchen can do that also and she is so not obvious! With 6 days to Christmas, sunnies are the perfect gift or grab a gift certificate!!
WE got you babes!
(This post is sponsered by Eye Candy Eyewear but all opionions are mine alone)