Founders toured factories in Europe before setting out on their own.
A counterexample to the many eyewear makers who have moved their manufacturing abroad, State Optical has embarked on a business model centered on good ol’ American handiwork, as the Chicago Tribune writes. The article explains how cousins Marc Franchi and Jason Stanley toured several production factories in Europe before they launched the brand in 2014 in order to give them a foundational knowledge of eyewear manufacturing processes. Now, their frames are sold in about 50 stores nationwide, retailing for about $300. “We had always heard labor’s too expensive, the initial investment is too steep, it’s too risky, it just can’t be done,” CEO Scott Shapiro told the news outlet. “If we’re successful with this project, others can do it as well.”