( ENSPIRE She Did That ) New Black-Owned Eyewear Company Celebrating Heritage With Every Design
ENSPIRE Contributor: WaTeasa Freeman
A unique eyewear brand is stepping into the luxury game. Vontélle is a black-owned eyewear manufacturer specializing in sunglasses, prescription glasses, and face masks. Their products are traditional African, Caribbean, and Latin print designs. Tracy Vontélle Green and Nancey Harris are co-founders of Vontélle. Their goal for every customer is to “walk confidently in this world: for every occasion.”
Vontélle is committed to addressing health disparities in deserving communities of color. They are partnering with Women in Need (WIN), a non-profit organization in New York. WIN operates 12 shelters, and Vontélle steps in to provide proceeds and eyewear to women and families in need. ENSPIRE spoke with co-founder Nancey Harris about her company and their plans for the future.
What inspired you to start Vontélle?
My partner, Tracy, is genuinely an eyewear connoisseur and has worn glasses since she was a teenager. She never misses an eye exam or the opportunity to buy some posh new frames to pair with her wardrobe. As my vision declined over the years, I [Nancey] began collecting eyewear as well. Coincidentally, we both lost a pair of glasses within two months of each other.
After searching high and low for glasses with unique colors and patterns, Tracy realized they did not exist and suggested we create our line of eyewear. One month later, we were jetting off to Paris, France, to Fashion Week to learn the industry and meet our new manufacturer.
How have you been able to stay afloat during the COVID pandemic?
We launched our brand in October 2020. The pandemic enabled us to slow down, focus on style, sizes, patterns, and textiles. Therefore, further developing our ideas, redoing our prototypes and business model. Presently, we are 100% self-funded.
Where do you see yourself and the brand in the upcoming years?
We envision our brand becoming a household name and leader in the eyewear industry for the consumer looking for innovative and fun designs. We love what we are doing, and the response to date has been incredibly positive on our Fall collection. Thus, we have begun planning our next Spring 2021 collection. Our options are limitless, and our goal is to disrupt the industry with our cultural designs. Eyewear should make a statement, and our glasses are a conversation piece.
What advice might you have for anyone looking to start a business?
Find something that you are truly passionate about and is needed or missing. There’s always room for improvement, no matter how cluttered the industry may appear. Do your research, and don’t allow naysayers to hold you back from your dream.
How does it feel being one of the few Black-owned luxury brands?
It’s an honor to be amongst others who are also making their mark. The global eyewear market was valued at $131.2 billion in 2018, and nearly 164 million Americans wear glasses. The market is wide open for Vontélle not only to make a splash but to flood the market with our unique and stunning patterns reflecting African, Caribbean, and Latin cultures.
Shop for Vontélle glasses and accessories at vontelle.com and find them on social media @vontelleeyewear on Instagram, and Facebook, @Vontelle.
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