March 18, 2019
Gemma at Kenmark
Gemma Styles, big sister to Harry and style influencer and blogger – with a following of 4.6M on Instagram, launched her first sunglasses collection with Kenmark Eyewear in 2018.
Marissa Cundiff, Marketing Director and Laura Howard, Designer talked to
20/20 Europe about the collaboration
and its impact further afield.
Q: When did Kenmark first start to work with Gemma Styles and how did this come about?
A: Marissa Cundiff: We first started working with Gemma on her collection in December 2017. Gemma had been wearing our product as an influencer for quite some time and was already comfortable with our company and what we stand for. We love her simple, trendy style so we all felt it made sense to work together on a collaboration and bring something really cool to life.
Q: In September 2018 you launched a first collaborative edition with Gemma. What does the collection offer and what does it represent for Kenmark?
A: Marissa Cundiff: The Gemma Styles X Kenmark Eyewear collection features four sunglass styles - three acetate styles and one metal style. The collection is very cohesive - fun, edgy, trendy shapes, with colours in a range of blue and orange mixed with neutrals. The sunglasses are comfortable and offer high quality with each style coming in several colours. They are all priced at $68.
The collection has allowed us to try something new and different as a company. It has also allowed us to be in front of new audiences and customers who are interested in this specific type of product.
\\ Gemma wearing one of the sunglasses in her collection with Kenmark
Q: Describe one or two of the models in the collection and how they embody Gemma’s style and Kenmark’s expertise.
A: Marissa Cundiff: Overall the styles are really on trend and embody Gemma’s personal style: simple, but edgy. A couple of the styles are quite pared back, while others, such as Seven Wonders and Rebel Rebel, have more details in the design/shape where our design expertise really came in to create something unique.
Laura Howard: The collection is an ultra-focused snapshot of what’s happening in sunwear right now. It was important for us to create a collection that was of-the-moment, but still versatile enough to last season after season. Gemma has a killer instinct for shape and colour. She came prepared with tons of inspiration and a colour palette that drew on classic tones in bright updated hues. Each style features her signature G in copper on the temple tip - a modest way to brand the collection without it being too obtrusive.
Q: What is Gemma’s personal take on this collection and did she get involved in the development of the sunglasses?
A: Marissa Cundiff: Gemma was hands on in all aspects of designing the collection from the branding, shapes, colours, campaign images, names of the styles, everything really. It was important for both sides for her to be involved in the creative process and for us to really capture her style and personality within the collection.
\\ Evil Woman Sunglasses by Gemma Styles X Kenmark
Q: Does she take some of her own images of the sunglasses in her own style or did you run a special image campaign for the launch?
A: Marissa Cundiff: Gemma takes lot of images with the sunglasses in her day to day life; it was really important for her and us to create product that really fit her style and was something she wanted to wear every day. We also did a campaign shoot to launch the brand that we have used on our website, social media and in advertising.
Q: As an influencer, Styles has an engaged audience with an interest in style and design. What has been the reaction to the sunglasses on Instagram and is this the main channel through which the collection has been promoted?
A: Marissa Cundiff: The reaction online has been amazing. It was new for us to be able to engage with the consumer and see their reaction to the collection, especially when they were receiving the product in their hands. Gemma has a fun, loyal following and it was really cool for us to see everyone interacting with both us and her and sharing images of themselves in all the sunglasses.
When we initially announced the collection, we were overwhelmed with the response of excitement - we immediately placed back-up orders! Several skus sold out within a few weeks and we’ve found we have many repeat orders from customers buying different styles or styles they love in different colours. We were surprised to learn that many people have purchased the entire collection! Everyone is always impressed with the quality of the frames as well as the detailed designs, especially at this price point.
\\ Gemma wears Seven Wonders Sunglasses in black
Q: Is the collection also offered by opticians worldwide?
A: Marissa Cundiff: This initial collection was sold exclusively on baxterandbonny.com; we are planning to expand further soon!
Q: What are Kenmark’s future plans for this collaboration in 2019? Do you plan to work with other influencers in a similar way? What are the benefits to your optical retail partners?
A: Marissa Cundiff: We are working on plans for expanding the collection or perhaps doing another collaboration with Gemma, but this is all still in the works! We are also looking at doing these types of collaborations with other influencers or up-and- coming brands. For the optical retail partners, collaborations like these can be really important and viable to have in their shop. The influencer world continues to grow, and they are often times just as influential as celebrities. They’re able to connect directly with their fans and they really have a huge influence over what they buy as their following trusts their opinion in that way. Social media is still rapidly growing, I think it’s important to embrace this opportunity and connect as a physical shop to the extraordinary buying power these influential personalities now provide.