To Wood or Not To Wood?

While some companies are exploring the best plastics and metals for eyewear, others are stepping outside the box and finding new, appropriate materials.  In doing a search for “wooden sunglasses”, I found at least a dozen companies currently offering some type of wooden frame.  All kinds of woods are being utilized for this new craze as companies are trying to find the best combinations, strongest materials, and most stylish/desirable grain patterns. 

I’ve not had the opportunity to feel (and most importantly to try on) a wooden frame until attending my FIRST EVER Vision Expo last weekend in New York City.  I stopped by the Parkman Sunglasses booth and got to speak with Christopher Shalhoub, one of the two brothers who began the company.  The idea that the two brothers were inspired from a trip to Maine and are now crafting these in the USA (New Jersey more specifically) really caught my attention.  The frames were much lighter than I expected them to be and were very sharp looking.  One of the coolest aspects that Christopher was showing me was that some of their frames are made from recycled vinyl records, scrapped guitar fret boards, and drums!  If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know how much I love music so this melted my heart.  The only question I had: How do you adjust wooden frames?  Obviously, you can’t really (Christopher smiled at this question and said you can really tell the difference when an Optician is looking at a new line versus a retailer).

My patient base is deep in the rural community of New Hampshire and Vermont and I am surrounded by individuals who enthusiastically support local businesses and love “rustic” anything, but I’m not sure that I’m confident enough yet to inject a wooden frame line into my inventory.  I’m going to reach out to my customers before making the commitment and I’m hoping for a positive reaction.  What could be better than wearing a maple frame in a community that thrives on maple syrup?!