Happy Friday! I am heading up to Block Island for a long weekend and could not be more excited, more to come soon but let’s end the week on a high note! Last week I had a breakfast meeting with two of the most interesting gentlemen I have met in a long time. Over coffee and delicious pastries at one of my favorite NYC breakfast spots, Maison Kayser in Flatiron, I learned all about the Chicago-based State Optical Co. There are a handful of categories I know quite a bit about by eyewear is not one of them so I was excited to both celebrate their companies national luxury eyewear launch and also learn about the space!
Before our meeting I knew that most eyeglasses were made overseas so dining with the CEO and the President was a real treat where I learned that State Optical Co. is among the first to manufacture acetate frames at this level in the US, which requires a 70-step process from start to finish. Scott and Marc were nice enough to humor me, answering all of my questions from which of the dozens of processes took the longest (the tumbling process to mold and smooth the acetate) to how big is the company (there are 45 employees in the Chicago factory and 200 overall).
We also spoke about many of the highlights of their American made product including the German made structured hinges and 21 dot temple tip, 21 dots drilled by hand in the shape of a pyramid to represent Illinois being the 21st state in the Union. State Optical Co. currently has 12 different styles, all named after streets in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to try them all on over breakfast choosing the Burnham in Tortoise Sage for the glasses and the Sheridan in Grey Tortoise for the sunglasses:
The glasses I am wearing above will not actually say the company name on the lens, they are just there as a sample until I go to my eye doctor and get real prescription lens put in! And another big thank you to Marc Franchi who is not only the lead craftsman but also was patient enough while I tried on half a dozen pairs before deciding on these ones. I also got a pair of their great sunglasses, the STATE Optical Co. Sun Sheridan in Grey Tortoise:
Which do you like more, the glasses or sunglasses?