What is the inspiration for your brand’s name?
We named the brand after our best friend who passed away tragically 10 years ago. He was amazingly free-spirited and creative beyond words. He inspires us every day to push the envelope.
What makes your brand stand out from others?
We are a female-founded brand in an industry with very few women leaders. As a boutique brand, we are able to move fluidly through a largely monopolized industry, creating handcrafted pieces with attention to detail. We combine quality with edgy designs, and this combo is hard to come by. When it comes to eyewear, you usually have to sacrifice one for the other. We never sacrifice aesthetics for quality or vice versa.
"I wanted to bring a level of intimacy to an industry dominated by mass-market production and very much lacking any female influence."
What was the toughest circumstance you overcame when just starting out your business?
The logistics of eyewear can be tricky as far as perfect sizing and comfort. And eyewear is an expensive investment when it comes to manufacturing costs, so every misstep is potentially a massive cost.
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion/accessory design?
I have always been a lover of sunglasses. Not only do they elevate any outfit, but they are absolutely essential [eye protection]. I felt the eyewear world was overrun by faceless brands and licensing; overpriced sunglasses with under-par quality. I wanted to bring a level of intimacy to an industry dominated by mass-market production and very much lacking any female influence. So, my twin sister and I started Saint Owen to bring a boutique brand to the forefront which embodied an edgy elegance.
What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
We look for someone who has an eye for fashion and creativity no matter what the position is. We want them to be invested in the artistry of our vision. And we want them to believe in the fundamentals of our brand. So, passion is key!
How is working in the fashion industry different today than from when you started out?
Fashion has blatantly veered toward e-commerce and at-home accessibility. Hence, when we started three years ago, we created a strategy toward DTC rather than wholesale, which allowed us to keep our prices lower while maintaining margins and quality. I see more and more brands taking this route, especially after the crippling effect of this pandemic on retail; fashion brands have moved online in order to survive. I also feel the fashion industry has seen dramatic changes as far as eco-friendly options and trends moving away from fast fashion.
How do you want your customers to feel when wearing your designs?
I want them to feel emboldened and empowered.
What does the word “success” mean to you?
To be able to create freely.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
My travels and my love of music.
What other designers/brands inspire you? Why?
I love the innovation and edgy perspective of brands like Alexander Wang, The Kooples, Sandro, Isabel Marant, Dylanlex, Pamela Love, Zadig & Voltaire.
"Expansion is movement and movement is life."
Do you see your brand ever expanding into a different avenue? Why or why not?
Yes, definitely. We have endless ideas! Expansion is movement and movement is life.
What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
The industry is oversaturated as ever, and in order to cut through the noise you absolutely must have a strong voice and a fierce commitment to tell your story.
What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?
I was a tour manager for a prominent rock band. I had absolutely zero experience with eyewear design!
If you had to interview for a new job what would you wear today?
I would keep it clean with a crisp white button-up and high-waisted black pants. I’d throw on some heeled boots and a pair of colored sunglasses and call it a day.
How would you describe your personal style?
Refined rock and roll; elegant yet edgy.
What is your favorite fashion trend?
Ironically, my favorite fashion trend is moving away from trends! We strive to create fashion-forward designs that also feel timeless so that you are investing in lasting pieces as opposed to throw-away fashion.
Are you passionate about something other than fashion?
So many things. I am passionate about my family, my children. I am passionate about writing. I am passionate about music. I am passionate about exploration.
What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
My two sons. Nothing compares.