EINSTOFFEN launches collection with new features
EINSTOFFEN counts among the young and trendy eyewear labels, even though the prolific Swiss brand has been designing eyeglasses for over eight years. For their latest collection, refinement and love for details set the tone. Time to take a journey through brand history with cofounder Philippe Rieder.
Hello Philippe, you guys founded the EINSTOFFEN label twelve years ago. What provided the original idea?
We were on a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. In Bangkok we discovered these cool T shirts which we decided to sell in Switzerland. Ramon and Raphael brought pragmatism and logistics experience to the mix. Christian was the web designer and I’ve always been blessed with a big mouth. Somewhere between naivete and megalomania, we decided to just give it a try. Four years later when we thought about launching our first eyeglasses, it was pretty much the same: We just went for it.
Is there a common theme between your watches, textiles and eyeglasses?
The four of us still design everything ourselves. Our signature style, the love for hidden details, the little stories and penchant for sustainable materials apply to all of our products.
Are there common themes between these different product categories?
Yes, for the past few years we have grouped our collections into certain themes, which are then revisited in our optical products but also in soft goods and watches.
How has the importance of your eyeglasses collection evolved until today, looking at your entire product portfolio?
Eyeglasses are our main product. We segment them into acetate, titanium and wood eyeglasses and currently focus on expanding the first two categories with the goal of broadening our offering here. At the same time, soft goods and watches continue to play an important part in the identity of our brand as well as our core customer base and also serve to gauge new trends. Plus, they’re also just fun! One of the main motivations ever since our founding was to be able to do whatever we want.
Your brand name as well as your product naming are all in German. Is language a conscious part of your brand identity?
Language yes, German somewhat. Since we hail from Switzerland, we’re first of all somewhat handicapped in that regard. And second, with Swiss German as our mother tongue, we’re used to switching languages in everyday life whenever we need to. But yes, language as a whole is very important to us. That reflects in all of our copywriting and branding. But it’s also funny that the name EINSTOFFEN continues to hold up since we’ve become a bit more international, because it has this intrinsic character. So why should something that’s successful for IKEA not work for us as well?
Good point. Your visual identity is young and lifestyle oriented. In which genre do you want to position your brand and who are your products aimed at?
We are basically aiming at people with a similar outlook. Those who take care of the environment, but still enjoy life and don’t take themselves too seriously. That’s important to us. But honestly, we would rather not clearly define the typical EINSTOFFEN person. We tried it at one point, but it felt like compartmentalizing. We prefer our customers to be individualistic.
You not only implement acetate and titanium in your eyeglasses, but also wood and stone. What is the common denominator between all these different materials?
We put a great emphasis on origins. Our wood is FSC-certified, our production is fair. Wood is where we command the most experience and it’s a continuous theme in our products. At the same time, materials are not a common denominator for us, but rather what we make from them. Our products are always rich in details: micro engravings or delicate wood inserts in unexpected places – sometimes it takes a second look, to realize the depth.
The love for detail is obvious in many of your glasses. And models like »Diamantschleifer« showcase the engravings prominently. What’s the story?
Nice of you to mention the »Diamantschleifer«. It involves a new technology for us. Here we have encased the metal layer with the micro engravings within the acetate, which creates a novel kind of look. We love these types of experiments and this one took almost two years of tinkering.
What other types of features can we expect in your new models?
Aside from micro engravings underneath the acetate, we have developed a new type of temple in which the implemented wood forms a small letter ‘E’ in a subtle manner. You have to have some kind of understatement as a Swiss brand, and it is also a little sleeker than a simple logo. We’ve also become a bit more adventurous in our color choices.
You also maintain a quite active online presence. Which role do independent opticians play for you?
Independent opticians are clearly our backbone. During the first wave of coronavirus in spring, we also credited half of the online sales proceeds from sunglasses to our local opticians. We’re all in the same boat with these shops. And it may not appear this way, but online retail is honestly just a sideshow. It’s mostly limited to soft goods and watches. optical frames from EINSTOFFEN are not available online, and that will never change.
What are you doing to support opticians on their digital journeys?
We are noticing that our branding and online presence especially help reaching end customers, which in turn will head to their local optician to ask for EINSTOFFEN. That’s why we also consider FAVR a good idea. You need to address the end customer right where they are researching and comparing eyeglasses. This means reaching them online, even though you don’t sell your glasses there.
Brand Profile at SPECTR.