Alternative Eyewear: Setting The Industry Pace

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ALTERNATIVE EYEWEAR IS KNOWN FOR THE INNOVATIVE DESIGNS AND STYLE. PRESIDENT PAUL STORACE SPENDS COUNTLESS HOURS REVIEWING FRAME MODELS AND COMING UP WITH THE BEST LOOKS FOR ECPS TO OFFER THEIR PATIENTS. IN OUR INTERVIEW WITH STORACE WE LOOK AT WHAT DRIVES HIS LIFELONG OBSESSION WITH EYEWEAR AND HOW THIS IS DEMONSTRATED IN EACH PIECE THE COMPANY OFFERS.

How is Alternative different from other eyewear designers/distributors?
We are Canadian designers of the original product. We are one of only a few Canadian companies, with a significant US footprint. We have 10 problem-solving distinctive collections. We have built this business from the ground up, and see ourselves as a hands on grass- roots company. We pride ourselves on customer service, I am told often that we are the best. I tell the people on the phone that we are second best – keeps us sharp.
We have a real-time philosophy of order fulfilment and credit processing.

What are some of the style features people can expect from Alternative?
We pride ourselves on being at the sellable side of edgy. Our products push color and design limits yet stay attainable. We are optical peo- ple, not licensors putting so-called bad brand names on bad products. For us, it is all about the style.

What is it about the industry that you enjoy?
The proud entrepreneurial spirit. I love when people have the guts to open a new store or a new office. It is not easy to step out into the abyss of the globalized eyewear industry. Those that do it have nothing but my respect. They are the ones you should interview.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Everywhere!

Do you have a favourite piece?
The one I am currently working on. I am all about the new. I am extremely prolific it is not unusual for us to release 200 to 300 new products per year. No one ever asked you so “What’s old”?

What have you learned to have been involved with the eyewear industry for so many years?
I really don’t know how to answer that question. The industry is a constant watershed. What was is no longer, and what is will change, stay tuned for what is to come. I would like to think that in my own small way I can steer it from time to time but probably not, this is a big train.

What direction do you see the industry moving in? (Design, technology, branding?)
We have prided ourselves on being the “anti-brand” company. I would love to think that the independents will wake up and realize if you spend all your dollars with your competitors you will erode the fabric of this business and it will go away. I am sure that Design and Technology will win over branding, and I am quite certain that the consumer if educated will make the correct choice in the dispensary.

What are you wearing right now?
Staag model: HOLDEN in a light honey tortoise with green grey lenses, sitting in my kitchen watching
the sun come up.

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