Suzy Glam Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary
Five Years of keeping it glamorous in the eyewear business have flown by and much has happened since Dutch brand SUZY GLAM made its debut at Silmo tradeshow in Paris. With their three-dimensional designs, love for great fits and carefully chosen color palettes, the Amsterdam-based company has dazzled audiences – including us. We here at SPECTR have kept a close eye on the evolution of the label that is now a fixture among independent brands. Now that the five-year anniversary is upon us, the brand is releasing a limited edition frame while expanding its horizons to olefactory designs with their own SUZY GLAM store scent. We took the chance to reflect with company founders Susanne Klemm and Etienne Frederiks on the past, present, and future of SUZY GLAM. A five year retrospective in five chapters.
I – The design philosophy
When Susanne and Etienne joined forces in 2012 to launch their own brand, the move had been a long time coming. Having worked for more than 20 years in several positions in the eyewear industry, the two were ready to make a contribution and put Susanne’s unique design skills to work. Plus, their inside knowledge and familiarity with the business helped them identify something that was missing among the building trend for vintage-inspired eyewear. Creating their own approach, the two agreed on defining their own design DNA and build SUZY GLAM from the ground up.
Susanne: „We wanted to create eyewear designs from scratch. Our goal were sculptured glasses that look good on a face – bold and elegant at the same time and with a perfect fit.” Right from the start, this technique led to the three-dimensional, shape-oriented form language that would become the label’s unique calling card. “I work with every frame almost directly in the material, like a sculptor. This makes all our frames look good from every angle. The temple fitting to the front is not just a technical solution, but an important part of the total design. Every frame is recognizable as a SUZY GLAM frame.“
SUZY GLAM is banking on sustainability and consitency in its marketing as well: The current campaign was captured – like all previous ones – by Aisha Zeijpveld. The artist residing in Amsterdam has had a defining influence on the visual presentation of SUZY GLAM.
II – The first show
Time to find out if eyewear audiences would appreciate the “glam” vision. The two packed up six styles – their first collection – and headed for Silmo 2013 in Paris. Although, in retrospect, Susanne and Etienne admitted not having big expectations, but neither did they feel any pressure.
Etienne: „We just wanted to do the show because we thought we could do this well. And if no-one would have liked it, we would have gone doing something else. But the reactions were far better then we expected and on the third day we were already out of order sheets.“
III – A different approach
Buoyed by the positive response to the design aspect of the brand, the next step was creating a business plan. Again, the two founders decided to organize their business the same way Susanne designs her frames; from scratch. As a result, the two maintained direct contact with their clients instead of working with sales reps – a bold move for a young brand that still had lots of doors to open. Keeping core business aspects minimal, SUZY GLAM set off without a dedicated marketing department, working with substantial and highly targeted editorials instead while letting the photographers shooting their campaigns proceed with full creative freedom.
Susanne: „This emphasis on design and aesthetic also meant liberation from conventional order cycles and the pressure for announcing novelty at regular intervals. We present new styles only when it’s interesting. After working half a year to get the perfect round shape, it doesn’t make sense to create a new round one for commercial reasons – only because people want something ‘new’. Eyewear fashion doesn’t change that rapidly.“
IV – Sustainable glamour
The eyewear and fashion business are currently marred by the fact that those constant product releases and ordering cycles tend to flood the market with far too much product, which also impacts the environment. SUZY GLAM arrived at this realization quite early on.
Etienne: „This approach of coming out slowly with new styles also has an effect on sustainability. We rather make something that lasts long. And it makes sense to keep good models in the collection. In fact, our first design is still one of the bestsellers today.“
As a direct commitment to sustainability, SUZY GLAM uses biodegradable acetate whenever available while working closely with manufacturers that share a mutual interest in making fair products. Growing slowly but surely over the years, SUZY GLAM now works with independent retailers in 19 countries worldwide, from Cape Town to Helsinki and from Tokyo to London – a testament to the power of building heat slowly instead of burning out in a flash.
Susanne: „We want to have a solid firm, but certainly don’t want it to grow big. In fact, we try to do as much as possible ourselves. The whole company is still ran just by the two of us, and it would be ideal if we can keep it that way. We like to build our own showroom, to explain our collection ourselves at the fairs and to think about new designs while having a coffee in our garden. It is fun to play with all these aspects whenever we like. It’s not only our company. It’s also our life and in this way we can be focussed on the quality and the relation to our clients and suppliers in the best way possible.“
V – SUYZ GLAM Celebrates
Celebrating the fifth brand anniversary, SUZY GLAM is releasing a new limited edition sunglasses model named Celebrates. Aside from these cheerful, asymmetric, heart-shaped sunnies, Susanne and Etienne also went from creating visionary designs to shaping their own olfactory experience. Their new unique store scent features traces of cucumber, vanilla and cedar wood to accompany the SUZY GLAM experience. It’s the sweet smell of success, and Susanne and Etienne have literally had their hands in every step along the way. And they’re far from finished.