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“Do you want to see the suitcase?” Gustav Hossy asks eagerly. He jumps up to retrieve it and comes back, unzipping the leather portfolio case. Inside are several rows of Christopher Cloos glasses and sunglasses, placed carefully and packed in so that the lenses glitter like jewels when the top of the case is lifted. This is the suitcase that Hossy has taken all over the world, selling his wares to opticians from Denmark to Australia. It’s an old fashioned approach, but one that’s rooted in a deeply modern approach to sales and branding.
Founded in 2017 by Gustav Hossy and Julius Langkilde, Christopher Cloos came about when the co-founders were in the south of France for a holiday.
They met a man on the beach wearing a beautiful, vintage-inspired glasses. He introduced himself as “Christopher Cloos;” Gustav and Julius were so inspired by the man that they decided to create an eyewear brand and pay homage to that fateful meeting.
Christopher Cloos is focused on creating classic silhouettes for glasses and sunglasses. They have a limited number of shapes, all designed with a clean, Scandinavian minimalism in mind. The shapes are unisex and universally flattering. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but they are making a great product at a very affordable price. In addition, all the lenses are polarized, meaning they cut out glare. All frames come in a nifty leather case, reminiscent of an old-fashioned pencil case, with a length of leather rope that ties around the body of the case.
Most of their frames are rendered in high-quality acetate or stainless steel, sold in the Christopher Cloos webshop and in optical shops.
“We primarily sell to opticians,” Gustav notes, “which has been the right market for us. First, it indicates a certain quality of our glasses: opticians aren’t going to work with low quality frames. Second, the optical industry is a large market and a lot of potential. It also means that we have the opportunity to partner up with specialists with a lot of optical knowledge.”
After getting a number of opticians in Europe on-board, Julius moved to the United States, securing a spot for Christopher Cloos in opticians across the country. “We’re not just available in Los Angeles and New York; we’re in almost every state by now,” Gustav says.
Running off the steam from their remarkable success in the USA, they continued to expand into Australia and New Zealand. Gustav spent two months in Australia and New Zealand going door-to-door showing the frames to opticians. “We rarely make an appointment at a store,” Gustav explains, “I didn’t want to wait by the phone and hope to get an appointment. Once the opticians see the collection and experience the quality, it’s almost always a yes.”
It’s easy to see why Christopher Cloos has been so successful with their mix of timeless silhouettes, branding as Scandinavian design, and modern-yet-old-fashioned sales strategy, combining social media with door-to-door sales, not to mention reasonable prices. As for where they’re going next, Gustav says he’ll focus on Europe for now and go back to Australia later this year. Within 18 months, Christopher Cloos has secured 500 retailers.
Next, the brand will be producing blue light glasses, which can be used when on the computer or phone in the evening and night. The treated glass blocks blue light from your devices, easing eye strain and increasing the clarity of your vision. Blue light indicates to your brain that it’s daytime, so prolonged exposure may make it difficult to fall asleep, and can even cause macular degeneration.
“We’re trying to find ways to make our products better, more functional and innovative. Those are the principles of Scandinavian design, and we think they fit perfectly with glasses,” says Gustav.
Check out this selection of opticians around the world carrying Christopher Cloos:
See more on Christopher Cloos, and get 20% off your order with the code SCANDI20