In the past two years, iC! Berlin invested more than €2 million in new manufacturing technologies and additional capacities. At the beginning of this year, the company opened a new 1,600-square-meter production site in Berlin. It also moved its headquarters in the German capital to a new 1,200-sqm. building on two floors for its back-office operations as well as the production of glasses made from metal sheets.
At the new production site, iC! Berlin manufactures its stainless steel and acetate collections as well as its Onono line of glasses in titanium and buffalo horn. The company was previously outsourcing its buffalo horn spectacles to Natural Eyewear, but it has developed a more sustainable and accurate technology to process this material.
The new factory also uses selective laser sintering (SLS), a 3D manufacturing technology that has also been adopted by Mykita, which is also based in Berlin. Like Mykita, iC! Berlin has launched its first customized sunglasses, starting with a model called Günther N, at its flagship store in the center of Berlin on July 12. Consumers can choose the colors of lenses, frames and the clip out of 20 different shades.
The sunglasses are priced at €430 for end consumers and are currently only sold in the Berlin store, with an option to sell them to other clients in 2017. iC! Berlin plans to expand its customized line to other styles of sunglasses as well as to prescription frames.
In addition to customized glasses, the company's new manufacturing facility offers special design processes, the manufacture of prototypes, and the production of large and small quantities to third parties. This could be interesting, especially for smaller brands. For example, Von Arkel, a Dutch brand that was nominated for the Silmo d'Or award this year, has worked together with iC! Berlin for the production of its high-end titanium eyewear line, which was launched at the show.
Meanwhile, iC! Berlin is expanding its distribution in Turkey to allow other brands to use its local sales network in the future. The German eyewear manufacturer opened its own sales subsidiary in that country in October 2014, after the termination of a distribution contract with a local partner. Last summer the company started to sell other eyewear brands via its own distribution networks in the U.S., Canada and Central America.
In the Middle East, iC! Berlin set up its own distribution at the beginning of this year. Iran is a very successful market for the company. Globally, it sells more than 200,000 pairs of glasses per year. Its most important markets are currently the U.S., Germany, France, Eastern Europe and Asian markets.