111 Oxford St, Soho, London W1D 2HH
Funky, French optical brand Polette has opened its first UK showroom on London’s Oxford Street. Born out of the observation that ‘spectacles are too expensive’, Polette is one of a new breed of aggressive, omnichannel challengers. Their new store is a fast fashion, digitally-activated showroom proposition, that is set to disrupt traditional optical retailers.
Cited as the ‘Zara’ of the optical market, Polette sells affordable eyewear, at a price that enables customers to buy a second, or even a third pair of prescription glasses, sunglasses or ski goggles, without breaking the bank.
Their feisty ‘Stop getting F*cked’ window display may have upset some, but it’s their product proposition that has incited rancour amongst opticians. Polette sells prescription glasses for as little as £15 a pair, making even the likes of Warby Parker and Ace & Tate look expensive. However, with a turnover of €65m and delivering around four thousand parcels a day to customers around the world, the brand has definitely found its niche in the market.
The self-financed business, which started with a €2k investment back in 2011, is a DNVB (digitally native vertical brand) that controls its entire ecosystem, cutting out the middlemen and producing every pair of glasses on demand. As all products are made to order, the showrooms carry no stock, just samples. This fits with the brand’s eco values of ‘zero stock, zero waste’.
Though originally a pure online-player, Polette has recognised the importance of the physical space. Their showrooms are not designed for selling, but to allow the brand to get closer to its customers, providing them with a more immersive Polette experience.