Inspired by the musicians, artists and creative “makers” in the ever-so-hip Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Jenny Ma launched her own line of eyewear, Brooklyn Spectacles, in 2012. Ma had already been operating three eyewear boutiques known as LUXEYE Optical, but her customers were asking for different colors and styles that she didn’t carry. “I recognized an opportunity in the market and became inspired to make a move,” she said.
Brooklyn Spectacles’ first collection was comprised of frames with the look and feel of wood but made out of high-quality Italian acetate. This faux-wood look continues to sell very well, according to Ma.
The second—and logo-free—collection has been crafted with Italian Mazzucchelli acetate, robust five-barrel hinges and clean, classic shapes. The frames are named after Brooklyn streets, neighborhoods and landmarks. The three newest styles have a retro feel with a modern touch of color. Cypress offers a keyhole bridge and comes in cool gray, citrine, military (olive) and black. The rectangular DeKalb is striking in cobalt with tortoise temples as well as a few other color variations. The round Winthrop comes in ruby, citrine with tortoise, cobalt and tuxedo black.
“Consumers in 2017 are more interested in well-made products versus paying premium prices for licensed brands—they know they would be paying a lot of money for the name on the temple,” expressed Scott Anthony, director of sales and creative.
For 2018, Brooklyn Spectacles has expanded to include the national distribution of two new labels, “Hashtag,” a line of titanium eyewear and sunwear, as well as a premium acetate and Japanese titanium collection called “Mr. Gentleman.” The company also offers a private label collection of acetate and metal frames, which launched in September. In addition to distributing to optical shops in the U.S., Brooklyn Spectacles does business with 16 countries. Anthony enthused, “We are a local company with a global mindset. Soon, we will be bringing a little bit of Brooklyn to the rest of the world!”
Michael Tanzi has been a licensed optician in Massachusetts and is the immediate past president of the Opticians Association of Massachusetts.