The Girls Behind the Flutter Glasses

Gayle Haworth and Patti Lee-Hoffmann are two AARP-card-carrying girls who launched Flutter Eyewear last year. Flutter (http://fluttereyewear.com/) is a collection of custom-designed reading glasses for stylish women.

The Printing Press and the Light Bulb

No list of the world’s greatest inventions is complete without mention of the printing press. When Patti and Gayle were approaching the age of 50, they found that their lifetime of perfect vision was no longer perfect for using the world’s greatest invention. Patti visited her neighborhood drug store and turned the five-foot carousel of readers. Even after three full rotations, not a single pair of glasses screamed out, “Buy me”. During the fourth rotation, she lowered her sights, settling on the most benign pair. Alas, that pair was not available in the right magnification! Finally, instead of bringing home the Manolo Blahnik of readers, she brought home a pair of Crocs.

Gayle went straight to Neiman Marcus and was excited to find a small inventory of attractive readers. She could easily envision herself adorned in a few of the styles, but not a single pair was available in her magnification, nor fit her narrow, oblong face.

When Gayle and Patti discovered that their friends suffered the same disappointing shopping experience, the idea for Flutter was born.

Points of Differentiation

Flutter glasses are fun to buy. Flutter infuses a low technology product with the best of high and low technology to enhance the buying experience. Using our Perfect Fit tools (http://fluttereyewear.com/perfect-fit), our customers will know exactly which pair of glasses works best for them. By uploading her photograph, she can virtually try-on any pair. By cutting out the paper-doll version, she can try on a tangible pair. There is a Flutter reader that fits every woman’s face shape.

Our frames and lenses are optical quality and suitable for use either as readers or as frames for prescription lenses; a great value at a price allowing our customers to purchase several fashionable pairs to coordinate with their fashions.

Take a Walk in our Shoes

I’m so glad you asked about my shoes today because I’m wearing my black Christian Louboutins to coordinate with my sangria red Cucinelli sweater and Andrew Gn black mohair skirt with a random sangria red plaid pattern. Just as I deliberately picked the Louboutins to coordinate with my clothes, so too did I select Clarice in Little Black Dress with Red Lipstick to see.

This week, we were either doing a trunk show or preparing for upcoming shows. It’s one of our favorite things to do since we get to meet our customers. Flutter readers are little personalities just waiting to be put on. To the delight of our customers, they learn that our glasses can be instant sex appeal or instant stature or instant glamour.

Challenges

How we make our money is more important than how much money we make. Any success that is not achieved ethically is no success at all. Integrity is more than compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Being technically legal, is not the bar we are aiming for.

We believe our values had to be shared with our suppliers. Our readers are manufactured in China. Our manufacturer agreed to undergo a third-party audit that includes documentation review, site tours and interviews of management and employees. When auditors identify concerns, our manufacturer must produce a corrective action plan and demonstrate that corrective actions have been implemented.

Short-term Inspiration and Long-term Goals

A portion of every sale goes to train service dogs to be companions for people with disabilities, particularly those with impaired senses, and help them fully participate and navigate the world in which we live. Hence, our long term goal is to help provide well-trained service dogs for everyone who needs one.

Writing a check to Canine Companions for independence is the biggest yardstick of success for us.

Exciting News

What isn’t exciting when you are just one year from launch and you’ve been covered by local media (i.e., SF Chronicle, Gentry, SJ Biz Journal) and national media (i.e., WSJ, Today Show, More Magazine, Southern Living, Essence, Good Housekeeping). Even fashion arbiter, Nina Garcia, wears Flutter glasses!

Flutter in 3 words

Gorgeous, bespoke readers.