Few people manage to successfully reinvent themselves, but Eline De Munck is a shining example of what can be done. In 2015, the talented presenter and singer launched her own brand of eyewear. Now it’s being sold in Belgium and abroad. “I found it frustrating to never find eyewear that suited me. So I decided to make it myself”, says De Munck.
The result is Odette Lunettes, which she launched with director Bob Geraets. For two years, Bob and Eline talked with opticians before setting out how they could best position Odette Lunettes in a way that would work financially. The eyewear Eline and Bob develop is fashionable and affordable. The brand regularly stands out for its unique designs. Recently, Odette Lunettes presented 3D-printed sunglasses designed by Tom Boonen.
Small batch production
Although De Munck already had experience of working for herself, running your own eyewear brand is a completely different story. “There aren’t any tutorials for what we do. Every year, we present about eighty new models, all of which we design in-house. All designs go past me before going into production.”
Because of the exclusive nature of Odette Lunettes, they are produced in small batches, which isn’t always easy for suppliers. “I have already signed contracts I regretted afterwards, and had to pay compensation for terminating them early”, De Munck admitted once in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.
“That’s why I find it important to set things in stone as much as possible in a contract, to avoid any misinterpretations”, says De Munck. “For example, payment terms, but also production and delivery. When we work with a new supplier, we first thoroughly screen them. We look into the brands they work with and ask for samples.”
Power BI as a compass
Odette Lunettes eyewear is sold in their three Belgian stores and via around 400 distributors in 16 other countries. “When we choose a partner, we don’t look at the scale they are operating on. What’s more important for us is their store’s look and whether they also sell other independent brands. The location doesn’t matter either. In other countries, we work with good agents who prepare a list of prospects, and then our managers go and give the final go-ahead”, says De Munck.
Although initially Bob and Eline would split the same tasks 50/50, now they have defined their roles more clearly. “Bob is more involved with the rational things, such as bookkeeping and invoicing. I focus more on design, production and IT”, she says.
At Odette Lunettes, the IT increasingly revolves around data. De Munck looks at her Power BI dashboard on a daily basis. There, she can see how quickly agents are selling, what frames are doing well, what colours aren’t doing so well...Based on these data, decisions can be made on orders and targets.
De Munck: “Our goal is of course world domination. We want to turn Odette Lunettes into a great brand that evokes passion. When it’s not going so well, I am ridden with doubt, but then all of a sudden you get a compliment and quickly remember what you’re doing it for.”
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