ETNIA BARCELONA Rebel Spirit
Facing The Future With Etnia Barcelona’s David Pellicer
Founded in 2000 by lifelong eyewear aficionado David Pellicer, ETNIA BARCELONA has blazed its own trail with design-driven products and art-inspired brand stories. Plus, a healthy dose of rebel spirit; doing things in a unique way without paying attention to the masses. Over the last two decades, this quintessential brand DNA has connected with a global audience. Beloved by starlets and celebrities, ETNIA BARCELONA is at home in the world’s coolest neighborhoods from Shoreditch to Williamsburg. Vintage or modern, acetate or titanium, micro-frames or oversized – the Spanish brand masters all the shapes, always with a signature twist. Aside from high-profile artist collaborations with the likes of David Hockney, the company also gives back through the ETNIA BARCELONA FOUNDATION to bring vision correction to children in need.
Behind the scenes, the rebel designer brand from Barcelona has grown into a best-selling eyewear label on a global scale. ETNIA BARCELONA now operates a flagship store as well as offices in Barcelona, Miami, Hong Kong and Vancouver to be closer to international customers. Through it all, the label has managed to maintain its rebellious spirit and ability to surprise and delight with designs in quintessential ETNIA BARCELONA style. To find out how it all works, what ETNIA has done to accommodate this radical growth and how the style-driven brand wants to navigate the future, we talk to the man at the helm of the ship: Here’s our interview with ETNIA BARCELONA founder and president David Pellicer.
David, ETNIA BARCELONA has undergone some structural changes in recent years. How come?
After 18 years, we’ve made some structural changes to help us improve. We’re now the best-selling brand in optical stores in Europe, number two in France and number one in Quebec. We were able to reach this point through huge amounts of passion, hard work, effort, and by paying particular attention to our product and brand.However, we have also lacked organization at times, and this is what we’ve been trying to improve over the past couple of years. I am now happy to say that we are achieving results.
It seems like you are also more active personally in the company again. What exactly do you do?
I play as active a role as ever. My job, basically, is to constantly seek out solutions to problems. I’m the problem-solver (laughs)! But what I enjoy most of all is designing glasses. So, I pivot from one side to the other depending on what our priorities are at any given time.
And do you now have a lot of new design employees on your team?
While the design department is the beating heart of our brand, every department is equally important at ETNIA. Each one plays its part. With every new collection, our goal is to create the best shapes using the best colors. Our design department always has a lot to do; from researching colors, shapes, and graduations, to researching different requirements in each country. It now has a strong structure thanks to the major investment we have made in this department over the past year.
Do these structural adjustments coincide with changes in the ETNIA BARCELONA philosophy?
What has changed is the size of the company. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, there are now 450 of us selling over 1.3 million pairs of ETNIAs per year. With four offices in four different cities, two factories in two different countries, three logistics centers on three continents, a foundation, a flagship store, and so on…
What has remained the same is the soul of the company, its values and the fact that chaos, in some respects, continues to reign (laughs). We love our rebel spirit, swimming against the tide and breaking the rules. Always expressing ourselves in the purest form. Art, color and culture inspire us, and we want to be the best eyewear brand in the world.
How has this growth and recent investment affected your brand positioning and strategy?
We’re going to continue with our strategy of differentiation, above all when it comes to the quality of the product through mineral lenses, natural acetates and the like. But also, when it comes to design and sales.
What is different about the design process?
We now design glasses for different target consumers. Previously, we designed everything for everyone, but now we study the characteristics of our end consumers, their archetypes, tastes, and how to reach them.
On the other hand, our sales strategy will be even more focused on the wholesale channel, in other words, on optical stores. These will be our priority. At the brand level, we don’t want to lose that special ETNIA BARCELONA touch that makes us a different, disruptive and rebellious brand. Our method of communication will remain the same, but with a bigger megaphone in order to raise awareness.
That sounds reassuring. What other news are you free to share with our readers? Are there any new campaigns or new collaborations in the works?
As you will see at Silmo, we have a new campaign: I’MPERFECT, based on peoples’ imperfections. We have chosen models whose bodies are unusual in some way in order to communicate how an imperfection has influenced their lives and made them unique individuals. This campaign uses powerful visuals and has a strong emotional message because it connects with reality and creates a perfect link to our next collaboration with someone who has a physical difference and revolutionized the world of music.
What are you looking forward to the most with the new ETNIA BARCELONA approach?
Making excellent products. We want ETNIA BARCELONA to be a desirable brand. That means giving excellent service but above all, ensuring that our team feels proud to work at the company because this is directly reflected in the work they do.
Thanks for the interview, David.