BY: DELLIA RISMAY
If eyes are the window to the soul, what you choose to put around them is especially important. Our eyes have the ability to express so much: joy, sadness, attentiveness, seriousness. That being said, it’s no surprise that in recent years, eyewear has become a major expression of someone’s fashion tastes. Gone are the days of being bullied for wearing glasses, or being forced to wear awkward, clunky-looking frames. In short, wearing glasses has finally become cool. Similarly to how many people will spend hours and hours looking in shops and online for the perfect pair of shoes, for example, shopping for the perfect pair of glasses has become almost like an obsession. However, those cute, brand-name frames you may have had your eye on for a while probably also come with a not-so-cute price tag. What’s a trendy eyeglasses wearer to do when they don’t want to put their bank account into the red just for a nice pair of frames? Eyeni founder Ananda decided to come up with her own solution and start her own eyewear collection.
In 2014, Ananda was having a hard time finding fashionable, high-quality, affordable eyewear. What she saw on the market was either too expensive or if it was affordable, the quality simply was not up to par. “I couldn’t find affordable eyewear that was still high-quality, and still fashionable, like the high brands like Gucci or Prada. So, I ended up saying ‘I’m going to develop my own line,’” she says. Ananda has always been interested in both fashion and eyewear, so she says it only made sense for her to begin this venture. “I love fashion and specifically eyewear. I’ve always liked glasses—I had a million before I started my own line, so it made sense to me to do eyewear,” explains Ananda. And, good news if you’re one of the many people thoroughly enjoying the comeback of 90’s fashion; Eyeni’s glasses and sunglasses are heavily influenced by that era. “I like the old-school gold frames, vintage type of glasses. I’ve always liked those. So, growing up, seeing that type of fashionable eyewear on celebrities and in magazines and all of those other things, that made me love eyewear.”
Aside from the unique styles and low price point, what makes Eyeni stand out from other retailers who sell glasses is the commitment to customer service. As we all know, a good or bad experience with a retailer can determine whether or not you return to do more business. At Eyeni, Ananda makes sure you’ll enjoy both her products and your experience shopping with her. “It’s great customer service and high-quality eyewear. You can’t really find that a lot,” she says. A big factor in a good customer service experience is how easy it is to actually buy a product, and Ananda makes sure it is easy to get your hands on a pair of her glasses. The frames can be purchased on the Eyeni website, through the Eyeni Instagram page, and at pop-up events throughout the city.
Ananda also provides a personal shopping option, where clients can book an in-shopping session with her. “People will come over for a date, for a couple of hours for them and their girlfriends to try the glasses on themselves versus shopping online,” she explains. Though Ananda’s target audience is those aged 25-40, which is a demographic that typically enjoys online shopping, she saw the value in being able to provide a way for clients to see the glasses in person, as Eyeni does not currently have a physical location. When it comes to online purchases, it can be easier to make a purchasing decision if you can physically try on the product; deciding on a pair of glasses would be one of those times when it helps to see what you look like in the frames.
Ananda aspires to one day expand Eyeni and be able to have a brick-and-mortar store. She currently works in the corporate world as an accountant while she runs Eyeni. As her passion is for all things fashion and eyewear, she says she hopes to be able to have Eyeni as her primary business and focus, and accounting as her secondary focus. “When I was about to finish my final year in college, I was always thinking about what I’m going to do after I’m finished. Obviously, I knew upon finishing my accounting program, I would eventually go into the corporate world—which is fine because I like that environment—but I also knew that I wanted to combine the two things. For myself, I always wanted my own business, so with the business mindset and love of fashion, I just birthed Eyeni,” Ananda says.
The road to owning her own small business has come with its share of challenges for Ananda. She says that getting people to become aware of her product has been something she’s been working at. “I would love my business to be on a different level, but to be honest, I can say that it’s been growing since I started back in 2014. Even though I want things to happen overnight like all business owners, it takes time.” But, with the growing popularity of people making an effort to discover and support local businesses, it seems like Eyeni may soon be on the brink of more widespread exposure. In the meantime, though, Ananda encourages people to continue to look into their local small businesses, and see what they have to offer. “Toronto has a lot of talented designers and artists, and we should all support each other,” she says.
Whether you’re into trendy shades or more classic glasses, Eyeni has something as unique as you. Visit shopeyeni.com to see what lenses are waiting for you.