Working through a new organizational structure established a year ago, pq Eyewear has started to market its original glasses on a wider scale, while preparing a bold new move into mass customization that should be implemented in the course of 2016, in partnership with selected distribution partners around the world.
Designed by Ron Arad, a famous Israeli architect and designer based in London, pq glasses are made through a sophisticated 3D manufacturing process developed together with a partner in the U.S., 3D Systems. Some of its machines are installed in London, not far from Arad's studio. They make very light and stable, yet flexible glasses in one piece from a special polyamide-based Duraform polymer. The patented design uses no hinges or screws. Without the lenses, the frames only weigh half a gram.
pq - written in small letters, the word recalls the rounded shape of Ron Arad's glasses - is the only company producing 3D-printed frames in one single piece. The D-Frame collection, which was launched at Mido in March, consists of ophthalmic frames and sunglasses in a wide variety of shapes and colors. They come with different solid, brushed and rubber finishes. The B-Frame collection, which has been available since the last Silmo fair in Paris, is another maverick pq creation, made of two pieces of different colors that are smartly clipped together, holding the lenses.
As the temples replicate the morphology and flexibility of the spinal column, the glasses are easy to fit and to wear. The next step will consist of adapting them even more to the customer's face through a 3D scanning and manufacturing process whose software is in the fine-tuning stages.
Until recently, the glasses were sold more or less directly to individual opticians, using practically no intermediaries. Since last January, a veteran of the Italian eyewear industry, Monica Dal Cin, has been busy setting up a network of agents in all the main European countries and negotiating new distribution agreements in the rest of the world.
Dal Cin is working in a new office of pq Eyewear at Susegana in northern Italy, close to her home in Conegliano. It's also the new operational and logistic hub of the company. Another industry veteran, Giuseppe Tabacchi, works there as general manager to coordinate the coloring and other finishing stages of the manufacturing process, which are performed by local specialists. He also supervises quality control and shipping.
Both Dal Cin and Tabacchi, who has no relation to Safilo's former owners, worked at Marcolin until after its recent takeover by PAI Partners and its subsequent acquisition of Viva International. They have both been in the business for more than 25 years. Tabacchi spent nearly 28 years years as logistics and planning director at Marcolin. Dal Cin, a specialist in sales and marketing, worked initially for De Rigo. She then moved to Marcolin in 2009. After her departure in 2012, she did consulting in the areas of jewelry and cosmetics. Dal Cin worked for Mondottica in sales, marketing and business development for eight months, but quit the job in December 2014, giving her the opportunity to fulfill her dream of doing something new and technologically very advanced in the eyewear industry.
For pq Eyewear, Dal Cin has set up a European distribution network that includes five agents in Italy, two in Germany, two in France, three in Spain and Portugal, three in the Benelux countries and two in the U.K. By the end of 2016 pq will have delivered some 100,000 pairs of the new collections to about 300 stores in Italy, 100 in Germany, 200 in France, and 250 in Spain and Portugal, plus many other opticians in other European countries.
Dal Cin hopes to build up the European sales network to 1,000 doors by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, the brand is developing its presence in the social networks. It has more than 30,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. You-Tube and Pinterest will be next challenge. Its booth at the next Mido show in Milan will be out of the ordinary.
pq Eyewear has gone through several organizational changes since it was launched four years ago by Assaf Raviv, an Israeli entrepreneur involved in private label, in association with Ron Arad. The present set-up looks more promising.