At the beginning of 2014, sunglasscurator.com welcomed in its curated gallery an innovative brand of eyewear accesorries, La Loop. We had a talk with Elizabeth Faraut – the owner – who, 14 years ago, invented the first necklace for eyewear, establishing a new category in its range because of the really cool double function – it’s still fashion, but with a helpful function due to the loop’s swivel hinges. Since its creation, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has recognized La LOOP as an invention and you can read more about it in the interview.
Being a new product/new market/new everything, what convinced you to take the plunge and start the business?
Fifteen years ago I lost my glasses. I went to a high-end optical store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan and noticed all the beautiful eyewear displayed like art on the walls of Robert Marc. I found it curious that the only eyewear accessories available were functional but outdated and unstylish. I thought there had to be another option. I wanted something that looked good while being practical at the same time – form and function was key.
La Loop is a unique concept/product in the world. With success comes challenges, and with challenges comes the need for continuous innovation. How does this apply in your case? Is it hard to find ways to make your product better?
I love the challenge of discovering ways to make La LOOP fresh and new every season. We partner with the best suppliers, silversmiths, platers and artisans who are the top in their class. The challenge is not only finding the most creative and talented people with whom to work, but also to spending the time to develop and nurture those relationships.
Talking about reinventing, we love the monocle. What was the public response to it?
The response has been phenomenal. We knew there was a need to come up with an updated version of a very traditional object and we’ve turned it into a fashion accessory. We love that we have received such an amazing response and work to create something new each season to keep the monocle fresh and fun.
Please tell us the story of how La LOOP was recognized as an invention with style by the Museum of Modern Art in New York? It’s a great recognition.
About 11 years ago, we were presenting our collection at a gift show in New York when the buyer from the Museum of Modern Art approached us. They look for innovative inventions and we are very honored to be a part of their selection. It’s a real stamp of credibility to have been selected and after all these years, to continue to be included in their assortment.
What was the turning point in growing your business globally?
There was not a single turning point. We have partnered with the best optical retailers in markets internationally over the last fifteen years and have always been focused on waiting for the right partners in new markets rather than jumping in, which is why we have seen such a steady growth. Some of our strongest markets internationally are Japan, France and Canada. We work with our customers to develop exclusive products that suit their needs, as different markets have different needs. This has added to our success abroad.
Any exciting projects / product launches lined up for the near future? We’ve read about a plan to launch sunglasses cases, how do you plan to make a difference?
We are always looking to modernize and add style to products categories. Right now our focus is building a larger array of high end products including a luxury collection with precious stones and metals and one of a kind pieces for our clientele in the luxury market.
Your slogan is so simple, catchy and suggestive, who came up with it?
My partner Debbie Zoullas came up with a slogan that perfectly described La LOOP and it stuck. After all these years it still embodies the spirit of our company.
What’s your advice for young designers trying to tap new product lines or new markets? What do you think are the biggest challenges and how should they overcome them?
First and foremost, find people who believe in you and sell to one customer at a time. Make sure they are happy and listen to their feedback to make a better product. Happy costumers will lead to more business through word of mouth. The biggest challenge is getting caught up with orders, getting lost in short-term results vs. long term ones. It’s easy to get excited over a lot of orders then lose sight of making sure that you are selling to people that reinforce your brand.
How do you choose the retailers that you want to partner with?
We make sure we understand their business model, the other lines they carry, and their demographic. It becomes clear after that conversation if they are a La LOOP customer.
Where do you see LA Loop in 3 or 5 years?
On millions of chic, stylish wearers around the world.
Who do you consider to be the best ambassadors of your brand?
Our customers. We really don’t need advertising, the word of mouth on our product is so strong. People will see someone wearing a La LOOP and are immediately drawn to it and have to know what it is.
How do you see yourself, will you plan an exit at some point? If so, what do you want to do then?
I haven’t really thought about it. I love what I’m doing. I wake up every morning and continue to be energized and passionate about La LOOP.
Where do you feel more at home, LA or Paris?
I feel at home in all of my homes: LA, New York and Paris.
Which is the La Loop necklace that you wear everyday? We can tell you that Roxana doesn’t take off her La Loop St Tropez 916 ever!
Recently I’ve been wearing our new adjustable Dog Tag in Natural Sand leather. Being in LA, it really suits my lifestyle here. I’m leaving for New York on Monday and I’m sure I’ll be wearing the Roman, which has more of an uptown New York feel. The beauty of La LOOP is that you can have a different La LOOP for every mood and occasion.
Shop La Loop here.