UX/UI Design, Visual Design, Art Direction
In 2009 the economy was tanking and nobody was hiring for the work I was dying to do. I set out to build a brand that would allow me do the design and creative work I was searching for.
What follows is the abridged story on how I built a brand and small factory for making top-notch handmade acetate sunglasses in the USA.
Sunglasses are a challenging product to sell online. Many brands use home try on sample kits to make customers comfortable with their purchase but our made in USA product was too expensive for that option.
To solve this problem, a top priority of the website was offer as many details as possible for all product variants without overwhelming users with extraneous information. Detailed measurements, plenty of photos on models combine with a robust mobile site and straight forward UX/UI all contributed to a successful online store.
A quality product is great, but the value of a consumer brand lies in the brand itself. Creating a strong brand with limited resources required building something clean and concise.
Detailed guidelines and user personas helped to keep the brand consistent across all channels. Strong photography helped it standout from the noise.
Capital was built on the following statement: We make the highest quality glasses in the most responsible way possible.
That an easy thing to say, but a hard thing to do. Living up to it meant building a proprietary maufacturing process in-house. With little knowledge left in the USA on how to manufacture acetate eyeglasses, it took me years of work to develop this process into something that could scale.
Designing a quality product requires a deep understanding of how the product is made and how it is used. The current status quo is to let someone else worry about how it's made but at Capital, I took the road less traveled and learned everything I could about our in house process as well as the processes used by our suppliers.
By 2015, Capital was carried in over 70 boutique stores worldwide including Allen Edmonds stores across America.
After 6 years of building the brand, production process and sales channels, I was ready for something new. I was approached by a Canadian company who was interested in acquiring the brand and Capital was sold to it's new owners near the end of 2015.