February 14, 2016
Launching this week in the UK, Ollie Quinn has been created by four friends from around the world who share a fascination with eyewear.
The brand announces the opening of 16 boutiques in the UK and Canada. In the UK, locations include Chelsea, Spitalfields, Covent Garden and Canary Wharf.
Affectionately known as OQ, the company celebrates their inaugural collection of 50 optical and sunglass frames (priced at £98 frame + single vision prescription lenses) designed by an in-house team of creators, led by French designer Sebastien Brusset.
The team spoke to 20/20 EUROPE ahead of the launch.
Q: This is a completely new departure from Bailey Nelson where some of you have been working?
Why have you chosen Canada and the UK for the launch?
A: Whilst Ollie Quinn is independent of Bailey Nelson UK, we are the same team of people and thus opted to launch the brand and its boutiques in the same locations (with more boutiques to open over the next 12 months), nevertheless we are independent to BN and any other eyewear brand.
We believe in growing with local communities and have been able to do this successfully within our boutiques in Canada and the UK. We have local, in-house interior designers to develop the boutique concepts, and wherever possible we try to use the talents of internal team members. For example, in Canada, Courtney Moleaux is our young, talented boutique designer who has grown with the company and has been a huge asset in developing our fresh, clean yet creative store concepts. In the UK, Jamie Moffit is our lead interior architect and a key member of the OQ management team.
"It’s not so much who and where we’re from but what and how we do it.
Our team has grown from four friends with a passion for producing high quality but affordable eyewear, to a team of over 100 talented and creative people based in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States."
Q: Are the additional 30 boutiques planned only for these two markets?
A: Yes, we are planning to open a further 30 boutiques in the United Kingdom and across North America in the next 12 months, however other markets are definitely on our radar and a future aspiration.
Q: Do you have a socially responsible mission or is the focus on good design at a lower price?
A: We consider ourselves both socially responsible and focused on good design at an affordable price. Our independence allows us to be nimble within the eyewear industry and as a result, we are able to offer the best quality product in a responsible and considered way. By designing all frames in house, sourcing materials directly, working with local manufacturers and selling via our own boutiques, we can keep our process easy, honest and open.
We cut our prescription lenses locally to ensure extra precision and a speedy turn around for our customers in each region. We trust the sturdy structure of our German hinges and use a mixture of Italian and Chinese acetate to ensure your frames last as long as you love them (and we hope that’s a long time). Finally, our in-house designed frames are assembled and manufactured in Hong Kong, where we maintain a close eye on quality control. It’s a truly international effort that has been thought out very carefully and something that we’re proud of sharing.
Q: Has the Warby Parker model been a part of your inspiration? If so how? Are you selling online also?
A: Ollie Quinn started as four friends from around the world with a passion for eyewear, design and quality. This has inspired everything from the product we create to the team we employ. We still also firmly believe in experiencing the brand in-store; this is the opportune time for our customers to ask questions, explore the products and become part of our community. We are constantly looking to foster meaningful connections with local businesses and people, which means our stores are an integral part of who we are. Our online platform will act as an extension of this and we encourage people to explore and learn about our offerings this way too.
Q: The opening of 16 boutiques at once is a major undertaking - is the company privately owned with outside investment from another company?
A: The company is currently wholly owned and funded by its four original founders. Our independence is at the core of Ollie Quinn and our values, and the founders will remain the majority owners in the foreseeable future.