As family-owned optics shops have learned — often painfully — in recent years, the eyewear industry is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place for mom-and-pop shops.
With all this upheaval, how is a family-owned optics shop with nearly a century of history supposed to keep up?
“We stay competitive by being experts in what we do,” he tells Mashable . “There are five generations of professionals, both opticians and optometrists. At Moscot, it’s all about quality and proper fit.“
All in the family
Moscot Eyewear has humble beginnings. In 1915, Harvey’s great-grandfather, Hyman Moscot, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart in New York’s Lower East Side. By the 1920s, Moscot had opened a retail shop in that same neighborhood.
Today, Moscot’s anchor store is only a few blocks away on Orchard Street. The company also has two other stores in New York and another in South Korea, with a healthy chunk of its revenue coming from online sales, as well.
Though Harvey Moscot was the third scion of Hyman Moscot to take the reins of the family business, he was the first to do so coming from a background in optometry.
Today, he’s joined by his son Zack, who, since last year, has been the company’s chief eyewear designer, making him a fifth-generation Moscot in the family business.
Together, Harvey and Zack believe they make a formidable team. While Harvey (who still performs eye exams at Moscot stores) is an expert on the technical side of eyewear, like fitting, prescriptions and fabrication, Zack’s eye for design has led him to reshape how Moscot handles its retail production and in-store organization.
“We’re always looking to stay current with our product but, at the same time, our product must be representative of Moscot and maintain the core elements of our look and language,” he adds.
Bring on the competition
All of Moscot’s marketing, editorial campaigns and product design is done in-house, which helps the company avoid inflated vendor prices. Even its photo shoots are handled by the company’s co-president, Wendy Simmons.
“We maintain a family atmosphere,” Harvey says. “We all contribute collaboratively and we’re able to get together and make decisions that are best for the brand and not for short-term financial gain.”
Though competition looms from optic wunderkind Warby Parker and mega-brand Luxottica, which owns Oakley, Lenscrafters and Ray-Ban, among other labels, Moscot says it’s comfortable operating on a more crowded playing field.
“Startups in the eyewear field are great,” Harvey says. “It brings greater visibility to our industry and people understand the product better and understand what we’re doing better.”
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