|After spending years in the optical business with Oliver Peoples and then Barton Perreira, Jared Buchansky decided to open The Eye Shoppe in 2010. The business has two locations—one in Freehold, NJ, and one in New Hope, PA—each with its own style and approach. This month, The Eye Shoppe will launch its first private label, with Jersey Shore’s Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino.|
SUNGLASSES: How do your two locations compare?
Jared Buchansky: New Hope is almost like Aspen, CO, meets the East Village: a very hipster, quaint, cool, trendy little town. It’s an hour north of Philadelphia and an hour-and-a-half west of New York City, so everybody goes there. You walk in and there’s classic rock playing. Freehold is a little bit more family-oriented. Here we play coffee-channel music. It’s slightly more contemporary, more bread-and-butter, and New Hope’s definitely more high fashion.
SG: What makes you different from other sunglass retailers?
JB: People are starting to be more educated now, in general. Even with regular prescriptions, they realize that sunglasses are a necessity, not just a fashion accessory anymore.
When you go to an optical shop like ours, you can have them adjusted, cleaned, and fit; and if you have a prescription, we can put it in.
SG: You recently launched your first private label with Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. How did that come about?
JB: We met through a mutual friend and we built a pretty close relationship with Mike and Frank, his brother. If you know Mike, you know he’s always in his sunglasses. So we came up with the idea to create a pair of sunglasses that Mike Sorrentino, Frank Sorrentino, and their whole company, MPS Entertainment, would design along with us as a partnership. And we created “The Situation” Limited Edition by The Eye Shoppe & Michael Sorrentino.
SG: Did you consider cost or did you just go for it on a creative level?
JB: It was both. You can be creative but keep it under $200. Our materials are all handmade acetate, and the sunglasses come with double-gradient, flash-mirrored lenses, 100% UV protection, a gift box, an eyeglass case, a cleaning cloth, and a certificate of authenticity by Michael Sorrentino. There are four colors: white, blue, black crystal fade, and tortoise brown gradient fade.
SG: What will the distribution be like?
JB: We’re doing it as a limited edition. Most of it is going to be done through officialsituation.com, and The Eye Shoppe’s site: eyeshoppe.com. We’re starting with 400—100 for each color, and they’re going to be numbered, one through 100 of each color.
SG: The Eye Shoppe has an enormous Facebook following—more than 10,000 “likes.” How did you do it?
JB: I owe a lot of it to the Sorrentinos. When we started working together, they really got behind our brand, and really promoted us as well on their site. Mike Sorrentino has more than four million followers on Facebook. He does one blast about The Eye Shoppe, and there are 1,000 more followers.
And we’ve done internal marketing on our end. If you like us on Facebook, you’ll be able to view any promotional stuff that we come up with. I think you’re crazy these days if you’re not utilizing social media. It’s foolish. It’s free! I’ve gotten more results out of a Facebook blast than I’ve had advertising in a local newspaper.