Specs by Kyla

Kyla Skinner’s optical store in Atascadero, California, opened in 2021, on the optician’s birthday.  The fresh minimal interior was created by Kyla and her husband, in a stunning courtyard location with a community vibe and like minded businesses close by 

A wine bar, distillery and restaurant surround the independent eyewear boutique ‘Specs by Kyla’ in downtown Atascadero on the central coast of California. A small town with a lot of change of growth underway, Kyla says she has been amazingly busy in her first 12 months. “Everyday I hear: ‘My doctor’s office has boring eyewear!’ I started out with more conservative styles but the fun stuff was flying out the door so I’ve embraced the unique and just run with it!”

Kyla presents a wide range of collections (she started with about 200 frames and now have over 350), from brands which include Lowercase NYC, Nina Mûr, VUE DC and Ahlem – as well as a few accessory brands. “It was slightly overwhelming to start from scratch,” explains the owner. “I’ve selected only independent eyewear brands to work with – I appreciate building a relationship with the owners and designers of the small independent brands, it truly feels like a partnership. Customer service is extremely important to me, and I want to give each person my undivided attention as well as to offer quality products. I feel the chain eyewear brands minimize quality and insurance compromises that ability as well.”

Interior: Specs by Kyla has a young, fresh style

Asked how she sourced some favorite European brands, Kyla explains how she travelled to Milan in May 2022 : “I had never been to an international eyewear show like MIDO and I wandered around the convention centers feeling very overwhelmed! I saw so many good things, yet my budget allowed me to select just one new frame line. I saw Nina Mûr and immediately knew I needed it. I fell in love with the designer’s contagious enthusiasm. I’ve always wanted to carry wood frames but never found a line that felt practical, until now.” She continues, “VUE DC was a line I found on Instagram. I started chatting with the person managing their Instagram account, Anne, and really liked her. The true love for eyewear shone through. I placed a small order, sight unseen, felt like I was jumping off a cliff in a way, but I was immediately glad I took the risk when they arrived. I had been searching for something bold, thick, edgy and modern – and it fits the bill. I added them to my inventory in Milan at MIDO and have sold about half already. I made notes in Milan, a new wishlist of frame lines, and I hope to add more gradually!”

Concrete floors, charming comfortable furniture, art works on the walls and elegant greenery create a special vibe at this store

A Pinterest board was an important starting point for the ideas and concepts of design at the store, saved over time. “The shop space lent itself to an open airy concept, it’s actually 2 stories with a loft so I have very tall ceilings as well as a lot of windows in the front. It took us about two months to renovate the space. My husband is a contractor so we did all the work ourselves. A coat of paint, new lighting, and refinished concrete floors. I love hard work and it was so rewarding to have the space come alive to my vision! My husband was able to draw up 3D renderings on the computer so we were able to visualize and adjust the plan. He made all my shelving, which is basically like a giant pegboard made out of birch…it allows me to rearrange my shelving and keep things fresh and interesting.”

Loft. New York. March 14-17
SILMO Paris 20-23 SEPT 2024
MIDO FEB 3-5 2024
TVR True Vintage Revival

The logo was created by a friend and pictures a California poppy and a local landmark, Morro Rock, where Kyla learned to surf during the pandemic. “Nature helped me through a really hard time and I felt that by reflecting those things in the eyeglass lenses of my logo I’d be reminded me of my focus and what helped me reach my goals.”

5808 Traffic Way, Atascadero, California