Moscot, the New York-based eyewear brand, has widened its European footprint with the opening of a new office in Lugano, Switzerland, for Europe and the Middle East. To take care of customs clearance and service its clients in the region, it has also contracted a third-party logistics firm with a warehouse in northern Italy that knows how to handle eyewear, as it also works for some local eyewear manufacturers.

The investment follows the termination earlier this year of a European distribution contract with Baumvision, the company in Vienna that had been representing the brand since 2008. Moscot will continue to work through independent sales agents in different parts of Europe.

The new set-up is expected to improve service levels and to provide clients with a wider range of products to choose from Moscot's collections, whose main lines are called Moscot Originals and Moscot Spirit. The Swiss office will carry out invoicing and other administrative functions, supplementing its own B2B portal.

Moscot will have its own stand at the Opti, Mido and Silmo trade shows next year. It will be looking for retail partners to open Moscot stores in Milan and other key European cities, or to use its POS materials to “tell Moscot's story.” The business was founded in 1915 by Hyman Moscot, an immigrant who arrived in New York from Eastern Europe in 1899 and began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart on Orchard Street, in Lower Manhattan. Now in its fourth generation, the family-owned company is run by Henry Moscot.

The company opened its first European standalone store in the Carnaby Street area of London last December, in association with a local partner who has a minority stake in the venture. Besides its web shop, it already has three full-line stores in New York City and two others that are managed by its distributors in Tokyo and Seoul. It also has dozens of brand corners in multi-brand stores.

To date, Moscot's collections are available in 857 specialty retail and optical stores across 26 European countries. Europe  represents about 30 percent of Moscot's annual sales of around 100,000 pairs of glasses. Half of the volume is sold in the U.S. The glasses continue to be made by a small, family-owned Chinese manufacturer who has been working exclusively for Moscot for over 40 years.