Annie and Vanessa are the founders of London brand Frame Chain, a fast moving eyewear accessories brand that is pushing all the right buttons in fashion retail and leading optical boutiques, across the world. As the duo get ready to pack their bags for Capsule, Eyestylist asked them to explain their quick path to success.
How did it all start? (Annie:) I have champagne taste and lemonade budgets! I lost about four pairs of glasses in a week and couldn’t afford to replace them. So I bought a cheap chain for my last pair. I would scour Europe looking for chic ones that didn’t look like a shoe lace or turn my neck green. I failed! So I hounded my then flat mate, soon to be business partner and best friend to make some- she was designing jewelry at the time. To shut me up she suggested we do it together, and FRAME CHAIN was born.
Liberty were the first retailer to stock us in 2014, and they continue to. This is incredible validation and we used their nod of approval to grow confidence in our idea. We have awesome stockists around the globe- mainly independent kick-ass optical boutiques with incredible talent for curated store concepts. We have been suprised by the success in Greece. The Middle East can’t get enough of the pearls! We are in Spain, France, Portugal, and even the Maldives and Taiwan.
You are both creative and very entrepreneurial…would you agree? Thank you for that – it’s a huge compliment. We both love to do things – to make things happen, to go on adventures and be useful! Vanessa is much more creative than I am. She can draw, design, build you a wall, design a house and bake incredible cakes! She is always thinking laterally; her approach to life is unique and pure. She has her own business already and thrives on having freedom to make things happen.
My nick name is ‘the whirlwind’- I am so excitable and determined that if you don’t know me it could feel like you are in a whirlwind. When I have my mind set on something, I make it happen. I studied biology, chemistry and maths, but I love to draw and make things with my hands. That 50/50 ‘left brain right brain’ gives me a good foundation for business. Plus we are both from up north and LOVE to talk and meet new people.
We like to think we are two sides of the same coin, two minds, one vision. We ebb and flow in and out of different roles. We are both designing, both selling, both creating. I do more of the spread sheet things and Vanessa does more of the visual and creative things. We do what we need to to make our little dream a reality. There is no formula!
What has been your most “creative” and exciting project so far? We are working on it as as we speak. But we LOVED doing the pop-up with Cutler & Gross.
One of you lives in London, and one of you in Spain. Does this effect the business in a positive way and if so how? It means we have to be focused, organized and efficient. That can only be good. It means we have different sources of inspiration and two home offices – one significantly sunnier than the other.
Can you describe your latest chains in the collection as there were a few new ones at SILMO, and tell us what you feel your direction is in 2018. We always start with the idea of jewelry. Chains that we want to wear – first and foremost – as a necklace or increasingly as earrings. This season, we focused on that a lot, developing it in three ways:
– the pearl range expanded, with new colours and sizes. Pearls are a trend and here to stay and we are having a lot of fun with this. We are playing with the idea of earrings. So styles like ‘loop de loop’ and ‘drop it’ have embellishments perfectly placed to hang like earrings. There is more of this to come for the summer and the the festival season. And now we are really playing with colours. By introducing rhodium and black enamel for our more masculine fans, we have pushed more rose gold and mixed the metals and colours on one chain. Find more details at www.framechain.com CN