IOLLA - For Spexy Beasts on a Budget
I still remember the sense of dread spreading through the pit of my stomach when my optician told me I needed glasses. For any teenager going through the growing pains of puberty, it was the nail in the coffin of low self-esteem. Overnight I had become "Ugly Betty." Of course, this was well before 2010, where "geek culture" grew in popularity and wearing "nerd glasses" were all the rage.
As the years have gone on and styles have changed and matured, I have adopted the mantle of my true form - a spexy beast - and as such traded out my sandpaper contact lenses for frames that are not only comfortable, but just so damn cool to accessorise with too.
However, despite the rise in popularity, mainstream opticians have remained costly, severely limiting what those who require glasses can buy - with designer frames pitched as triple figure price points, where with "economy" or affordable frames, style is sacrificed, leaving more people feeling the way I did all those years ago when I was handed my optical prescription.
Specs for All - IOLLA
Thankfully, a rather spectacular Glasgow based start-up by the name of IOLLA, is championing the cause of sexy specs on a budget. Situated in Glasgow's up-and-coming area of Finnieston, rather serendipitously, just below my former childhood home, is the showroom of IOLLA's flagship store. Operating a unique take on today's online lifestyle, IOLLA swaps out the hard sell in store, for a browsing atmosphere and no pressure to buy, only try, when visiting. Customers can then order online, or if immediately smitten, have a member of staff walk them through the process via iPad in store.
But, it's not the warm atmosphere, ruggedly chic showroom or trendy location that makes IOLLA great - it's the value for money, with all prescription glasses and sunglasses sold at budget busting £65.00.
Unlike online retailers, dispensing prescription frames at similar price points, the brand of IOLLA comes with the security of customer aftercare. I consulted IOLLA's Marketing Maven, Kirsty Humpherson on the matter:
"We want to make sure the IOLLA community feel great in their glasses because of how they look, the affordability and the experience they’ve had purchasing them."
Of course, with glasses at a fixed pricepoint of £65 (and £125 for multi focus or thinner lenses), it leaves the question, how can IOLLA be so cheap?
"We've spent a great deal of time sourcing the best materials to make our glasses from the around the world. We design our own frames in-house and bring them straight to you, cutting out any middle men and unnecessary costs. We’re a fashion brand and not an opticians, which does keep costs down because we don’t have the upkeep of equipment etc. however we believe that IOLLA is revolutionising the way people buy eyewear - you wouldn’t buy shoes from a podiatrist would you?"
The brand of IOLLA is appropriately tied to it's Scottish roots, with its own name meaning "to see" in Gaelic, and the diverse collection of frames named after prolific characters from Scottish history.
Looking to the Future - IOLLA
Since its launch just over a year ago, IOLLA has gone from strength to strength. Already a solid favourite among the city's most prolific bloggers and locals alike, growth is on the mind of the flourishing start up.
This summer, IOLLA launched its first collection of prescriptive and polarised (non-prescription only) sunglasses. However, the brand has it's sights set on much bigger moves within the market with plans to open new showrooms within major cities across the UK in the near future.
Has there ever been a more amazing pair of glasses? Stay tuned for our round up on Scotland's hottest spectacle startup, @iolla! #seewithiolla #selfie #glasses #spexybeast #instadaily #instagood #fbloggers #fashionblogger #photooftheday
A photo posted by Scottish Bitches (@scottishbitches) on Jul 10, 2016 at 8:10am PDT
With a disruptive price point and fresh approach to selling frames for all, it's never been clearer to see that IOLLA is set for success.
Which pair of IOLLA frames are your favourite? Do you wish more online stores had brick and mortar showrooms? Share with us in the comments below!