ØRGREEN OPTICS: a new phase of growth
The last 26 years have been fruitful for Ørgreen Optics, with its unique approach to colour and craftsmanship now well-known and influential across the international eyewear market. As the company enters a new phase of growth, 20/20 Europe speaks to CEO Henrik Ørgreen about key developments for the months ahead, what can be expected from the brand in SILMO 2023 and what is left to conquer.
Q: How has Ørgreen’s corporate strategy and brand evolution shaped up in 2023? What have been the key company developments this year, and what is on the horizon for 2024?
A: As we move through 2023, our commitment to craftsmanship, innovation, and exceptional design has remained steadfast, positioning us as a prominent player in the market. We have consolidated all our new collections like the Imaginary Lines, The Quantum High with 3D fronts, and The HAVN in stainless, all of which have been instrumental in sailing through and out of the pandemic. Key company developments this year have revolved around expanding our presence in Asia and in parts of the North American market, forging new partnerships. Looking forward to 2024, we are introducing exciting new collections that will continue to showcase our mastery of materials, such as Titanium, while also exploring new colours and applications.
Q: Flashback a couple of decades, and Ørgreen was establishing themselves as Scandinavia’s first sunglasses and optical brand. What moments of recent years have played the most pivotal role in the brand’s rise to prominence in the industry?
A: The rise of Ørgreen is a tale of friendship, ambition, and an unyielding pursuit of innovation. When my friends and I set out to create Ørgreen, we were fuelled by a vision to launch Scandinavia’s first sunglasses brand. Despite our lack of prior experience in eyewear design or production, we wholeheartedly embraced the challenge. Our growth trajectory was organic and driven by our customers’ needs, leading us to branch out into optical designs just three years into our journey. Our unique approach, deeply rooted in our street culture background, provided us with a fresh perspective on the industry. Far from being deterred by traditional industry norms, we challenged them, infusing new energy and vision into our work. This approach has been instrumental in shaping Ørgreen into the brand it is today.
In 2003, we strategically decided to collaborate with Japanese craftsmen, who are renowned for their high-quality work and meticulous attention to detail. This partnership enabled us to blend our Danish design principles with Japanese craftsmanship, particularly in the realm of titanium work. This fusion of cultural insights and expertise has been a defining factor in our brand’s distinctiveness.
Above all, what truly propels Ørgreen’s rise to prominence is our culture of continuous development and improvement. We are never content with the status quo. We are always on the hunt for new designs, concepts, materials, and colours to keep our brand at the cutting edge of innovation. This relentless pursuit of excellence is what fuels our growth and evolution in this dynamic industry.
Q: Having worked and perfected the art of using Titanium, Ørgreen has been expanding its range of materials. What techniques, colour combinations, and materials can we expect to see in the SILMO 2023 releases?
A: For SILMO, expect to see an array of captivating designs that showcase our expertise in all the various materials. We will introduce exciting colour combinations that reflect the latest trends while maintaining the timeless elegance Ørgreen is known for. We have, of course, expanded from Titanium with Acetate, 3D, and Stainless collections, and we have actually started combining different materials and techniques. Model Wish is an exceptional design, combining the timeless elegance of titanium with cutting-edge technology 3D side shields to deliver a truly remarkable eyewear experience. The 3D printing technique ensures a seamless integration with the frame, creating a harmonious and sleek profile that complements any face shape.
Q: Can you share more details about the program of events in Ørgreen Studios with opticians from around the world? What is important to you when developing relationships with retailers?
A: Opticians who sell Ørgreen know well that the product is just the beginning of a journey to discover quality in every aspect of the company: from impeccable service to personalised marketing, everything contributes to creating a unique ethos. These gatherings have offered participants an extraordinary opportunity to meet the people behind the brand and immerse themselves in the vibrant soul of Ørgreen.
Upon arrival, visitors were warmly welcomed into the scenic Ørgreen Studios, nestled in the heart of Copenhagen, just a stone’s throw away from one of the city’s picturesque canals. From the moment they arrived, they could sense the exceptional experience that awaited them. Guided tours unveiled the intricate steps involved in creating each frame, from the mastery of Titanium to the elegance of Acetate and the revolution of 3D, showcasing the dedication and passion of the various teams. But the experience did not stop at the laboratories: participants were fortunate to explore Copenhagen, immersing themselves in the culture and art that permeate the city’s streets. The vibrant and creative atmosphere of Copenhagen is an integral part of Ørgreen’s essence, captivating visitors with the perfect blend of design and culture. These events are not only an opportunity to strengthen the bond between Ørgreen and its customers, but also a way to create new connections among opticians from different regions. Participants returned home with renewed inspiration, ready to share the magic of Ørgreen with their own customers and partners.
Q: What have been the most significant challenges the brand has faced to date, particularly since the pandemic? How do you manage the demands and pressure of the international eyewear market?
A: Undoubtedly, the pandemic presented significant challenges for Ørgreen. Navigating global supply chain disruptions and changes in consumer behaviour demanded adaptability and resilience. However, we leveraged digital channels and implemented innovative solutions, remaining a reliable partner for our customers and meeting their evolving needs. We are noticing that the pandemic is affecting the market in more subtle ways that now add to the global instability. And therefore, we remain fluid and agile, which has allowed us to address the demands and pressures of the international eyewear market effectively.
Q: It has been a long journey since 1997. What is left to conquer for Ørgreen? What will be the key areas of growth for the company in the coming years?
A: It’s all about the journey and so far we have really enjoyed the ride…Since 1997 it has been filled with growth and accomplishments, but there is still much to conquer for Ørgreen. Key areas of growth for us in the coming years include expanding our presence in new markets like Asia and consolidating further in North America, investing in sustainable practices, and continuing to push the boundaries of eyewear design and technology. Our passion for impeccable craftsmanship and dedication to customer satisfaction will remain at the core of our endeavours as we continue to elevate Ørgreen’s position as a global eyewear leader.