The Full Story
Why Optical Underground Exists
A Note from Our Founder
Dispelling the notion that a few big players monopolize the eyewear industry, there are literally hundreds of smaller, independent cutting-edge designers. These are the companies that are the risk takers, pushing the boundaries of style, innovation and technology. It is their latest designs that you will find lining the shelves of the world's finest optical stores.
Often the reward for their creativity and originality is having their best styles copied and sold less expensively by “disruptive” companies claiming that eyewear is overpriced. Sometimes it is. But we also think it’s pretty easy to offer lower prices and lower quality when someone else has done the creative work. Imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery.
The eyewear business is different from the rest of the fashion industry in that manufacturers are expected to produce an entire season’s inventory before the first one is sold. This creates enormous risk compared to fashion clothing that produces based on pre-season orders. But like all fashion businesses, at the end of each season many of these eyewear manufacturers have unsold inventory tying up resources that could be used to create next season’s collections. Sometimes the styling was just too ahead of its time, or the manufacturing costs made the eyewear too expensive. Sometimes they just made too many of a certain model or color.
This is where we come in.
Because of our long-standing relationships, our vendors trust us. They’ve become our friends and partners. At least once a year we travel to Paris, Milan, Munich, Hong Kong and New York to meet them. They allow us to cherry-pick the best of past season's overstocks, samples and discontinued styles; styles that are unlikely to still be in stores. They know we won’t advertise their brands or prices to the public. They know we won’t sell to other stores. We offer them a discreet way to promote their brand by selling styles that don't compete with their current offerings or their standard channels of sale.
Because of volume pricing, you get to experience their brand at a great price, and hopefully an appreciation for their artistry and creativity. If you fall in love with a particular designer, we’ve done our job. We bet you’ll look for that same quality and aesthetic the next time you want a new pair. Maybe you’ll buy from us again. Maybe you’ll seek out their latest collections at your local optical store. Either way, you’ll find styles and craftsmanship as unique as you are.
For eyewear addicts, you’ll love the opportunity to buy style from your favorite designer at truly “bargain basement” prices. And for those who haven’t braved the waters of high fashion eyewear, here’s an opportunity to dip your toe in without breaking the bank.
Cofounder & President, Optical Underground
Eyewear changes the way people see.
It changes the way we see ourselves.
It changes the way we see the world.
Because we appreciate this, we will devote as much attention to aesthetics as we will to optics.
We will offer the best values on the best names in high quality fashion eyewear.
We will allow the search for eyewear to generate the energy it deserves: Fun.
Our customers want to explore, so we will give them the freedom to surprise themselves.
We will lock nothing, because open cases open minds. In all we do, we will take our responsibilities seriously and ourselves lightly.
We will treat our clientele with habitual integrity.
We will communicate clearly.
We will deliver obsessively.
And we will build success on the shared uniqueness of what we offer and how we offer it: