After building a successful retail optical business in the Pittsburgh region, Norman Childs has started offering his self-named eyewear to high-end boutiques nationwide.
Following what could be considered decades of informal test marketing through the Eyetique chain of luxury optical stores, Norman Childs Eyewear has now gone wholesale. The eponymous line created by Norman Childs had already been available exclusively through the Eyetique chain he founded in 1979.
“We’ve been selling this collection in our stores for over 20 years, and it’s been our number one brand,” Childs told VCPN. Their in-house success over the years led him to decide to take the line wholesale with its launch at last year’s Vision Expo West, held September 2015 in Las Vegas.
Since then, the company has signed up a select group of luxury optical boutiques as distributors of Norman Childs Eyewear with more in the works and room for still more to be signed on. Carefully curated, the rollout is on track to hit its goal of 150 doors by the end of the year.
“We launched Norman Childs Eyewear wholesale at Vision Expo West last year, and it’s been great for us,” Childs said. “Fortunately, we have the ability to pick and choose and take our time to get our product in some of the best locations in the U.S.”
Among those that have already started carrying Norman Childs Eyewear are Daas Optique in Los Angeles, Modern Eye in Philadelphia, Insight Opticians in Washington, DC, and Barton Perreira in Aspen, CO. “We wanted to strategically pick parts of the country we felt were most important to set the tone for our collection,” he explained.
“Our niche is top-shelf quality and great design, 100% handcrafted in America,” Childs said, describing what sets the line apart from its many competitors.”
With 28 styles and 85 SKUs currently available, Norman Childs Eyewear plans to launch four new designs at Vision Expo East in New York in April.
After reaching 150 doors in 2016, long-term future plans include growing to 200 locations next year. Childs explained his philosophy behind being so selective: “We want this to be a boutique collection that is very exclusive. We hope stores will get behind it and make it work rather than mix it in with 25 other collections.
“That’s the challenge for us,” he said, describing the line as “approachable luxury, handmade in the U.S. but still at a price point for your mid-range luxury customers.”
John Sailer is editorial director of First Vision Media Group.