She helped make losing glasses a thing of the past. Find out what the fashion/jewelry exec-turned-eyewear accessories maven has in store for 2016/17.

In 1992, Corinne McCormack learned something the hard way: she lost an expensive pair of sunglasses. That immediately got her thinking: “I needed to have a chain to protect my new glasses. I was not able to find anything suitable, so seizing my jewelry background, I knew that I could design fashionable and functional eyeglass holders.”

And so she did. Twenty years later, she has grown her practical idea into a company-Corinne McCormack, Inc. (CMI), a subsidiary of FGX International Inc.-with impressive distribution in 2,000 locations. She is one of the most recognized names in high-end department stores and among eyecare professionals for on-trend readers and accessories. VCPN‘s Michele Silver spoke with McCormack about her love of design and why it’s smart business for ECPs to maximize accessory sales.

MICHELE SILVER: After your ‘a-ha’ moment about needing an eyeglass chain, what propelled you to start your business?

Corinne McCormack: I always had a desire to own my own company. There is something exciting to build a brand from the ground up. I really love business and fashion so it seemed like a great [opportunity]for me to start my company. Within a few years, I realized that no one was designing fashionable, colorful reading glasses. [Even though] I wasn’t wearing glasses at that time, I knew what I would want to wear.

I started collecting vintage eyewear and used that as my initial inspiration. I was the first designer to bring quality and fashion to reading glasses.

SILVER: What trend shifts have you seen in readers and accessories?

McCormack: Readers have become a real accessory. Women now know that glasses can be fun and that they are the most important accessory a woman owns.

SILVER: What do you like best about designing in this category?

McCormack: I love working on the new colors for my collection. I design four collections a year, and I love working on the new colors for the future seasons. I also adore working on new designs that will be fashionable but also comfortable and flattering. When we receive the samples in my office, it is like opening presents on Christmas morning. I love seeing the new samples!

SILVER: What are the highlights from your 2016/17 collections?

McCormack: The color keeps getting more and more beautiful. The major themes for 2016/17 have been transparency, matte finishes and touches of golden hues. The glass silhouettes are getting larger and more prominent. The rectangular style that was such a classic a few years ago is nearly non-existent. It has been replaced by larger, chic geek styling.

SILVER: What suggestions do you have for ECPs to sell this accessory category more effectively?

McCormack: They need to embrace this category. The customer loves accessories, as they are an inexpensive add-on to the purchase. Plus, the accessories add color and fashion to their stores. I strongly suggest they have a display or a few displays dedicated to readers and accessories because it will bring in incremental volume. The reading glass customer today is your progressive buyer in a few years!


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