As the only independent specialty sunglass boutique in Austin, TX, Spectacle Sunglasses has been making its mark on the local sunglass retail scene since September 2009. This family-owned business carries a little bit of everything from Spy Optic, Oakley, and Ray-Ban to Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Prada, and DIANE von FURSTENBERG. With an active, mostly young male clientele in this cyclist-friendly city, owner Lori Oviedo—who studied fashion management and design, and dreams of one day having her own sunglass line—is really able to dig her heels into her passion for styling by helping customers find what’s best for them. She runs the eclectic shop with her brother and caters to customers who want classic looks with a bit of something extra that makes their shades stand out.
SUNGLASSES: How did you get started in the sunglass industry?
LORI OVIEDO: I actually started working with sunglasses at Sunglass Hut in 2002. I’ve been doing it for a really long time and once I started, I fell in love because I just love accessories, styling, and picking the right style for the right person. From there I actually moved to LA for a while and worked for a little sunglass shop in Manhattan Beach. They had every brand, every style you could imagine. So, that’s where I was inspired the most and I really thought I could do this on my own and have my own sunglass store. And Austin’s the perfect place because people here are very eccentric, and they can express their style and not really care what other people think. That’s kind of my style, so it’s great. I also liked the fact that people here support local businesses.
SG: How did you make your shop different from the rest?
LO: Downtown Austin has some very hipster areas and every store has its own niche. They don’t really look like stores. We wanted to make it look like an old house, very vintage but with a little bit of flair and crazy, bold colors. Austin really embraces that style. It goes along with the Austin slogan of “Keep Austin Weird.” Any-body who comes to this city hears that at least once before they leave.
Basically, we got some green wallpaper and a vintage pattern. We also got a bunch of antique furniture. It looks like somebody’s living room. We have chandeliers and we put a curtain up for the couch, and an old 1920s radio. We just wanted to keep it kind of funky; to have people, when they come in, actually have a different experience rather than just shopping, as they might at a typical sunglass chain. That was the basic plan. Plus, Austin’s very in touch with local artists, so every two months we’ll have different artists display their art in here, so it’s kind of like a sunglass shop and art gallery.
SG: Austin is very well known for live music. Do you ever incorporate this into promotional events?
LO: We do. Like I said, we have a big curtain in the back with a chandelier hanging over it, and it looks like a little stage. Our neighbors—the business owners next to us—they DJ and know that whole scene. So they’ve really helped us spread the word by actually getting people in here as well as DJs and bands so we can really spread the word about Spectacle Sunglasses. Rather than just have a regular sunglass shop, we wanted to get involved as much as we could with all of Austin’s music, art, and everything else that makes Austin Austin.