A young Italian firm by the name of ArteVedo, established in 2000 by a Venetian optician, Roberto Carlon, is doing extremely well with its concept of superlight eyewear called Micromega, patented for Europe, China and the USA. The glasses are almost entirely handcrafted, with beta titanium frames and no soldering or screws. The standard weight is 0.9 grams, but a recent model without nose-pads weighs just 0.7 grams.

Sales were launched through a single-brand concept store in the center of Venice very close to St. Mark's Square, which also dealt with orders from Italian and foreign opticians. The results were so positive that this family-owned firm ? which has only one employee and consequently has the advantage of high margins - is now planning to develop its sales on both the wholesale and retail fronts. In 2004 ArteVedo's sales doubled to around €500,000, half of which was accounted for by the Venetian store.

With demand increasing fast, Carlon has signed an agreement with a wholesaler based in Rome who covers the central and southern areas of Italy and the Veneto area in the northeast for the moment, with plans to extend its coverage to the northwest of the country. Micromega is distributed in the USA by Acoma Optical of Santa Fe, while the only other European distributor for the moment is a Spanish company called Techlens, based in Barcelona.

The firm has much more ambitious plans on the retail front, with concept stores in the pipeline for major Italian and foreign cities, starting with Paris. Franchises are included in the development plan, focusing particularly on the most popular cities for tourists. A pair of Micromega eyewear retails at around €290, with the wholesale price averaging €140. While sunglass models are available in the Venice store, elsewhere the Micromega concept is available as prescription eyewear only for the moment.