Ethical eyewear brand Bird secures new investment
The family-run company is developing an augmented reality try-on feature
The £300,000 investment, from Worth Capital, will allow Bird to develop new products, reach a wider audience, and employ more staff.
The company has grown organically in its almost-three years of operation, and remains family-owned with brothers Ed, Paul and Lawrence at the helm. 2020 is only its second year of trading.
The siblings plan to use the funding to open a new office in South West England, introduce new frame styles and materials, establish new teams, and focus on reaching independent opticians. New eyewear styles will be debuted this spring.
Bird will also launch a new augmented reality try-on feature for its products, which will allow customers to try on any frame from anywhere in the world via a phone or computer.
Bird has featured in publications including Forbes and the Independent, and was an AOP Awards Frame of the Year finalist in 2020.
Part of the brand’s aim is to do good whilst creating stunning, design-led eyewear, according to co-founder Ed Bird. Its Share Your Sun partnership with poverty and climate change charity SolarAid sees one solar light distributed in Africa for every pair of sunglasses sold. The solar lights allow families without electricity to feel safe after dark, and lessen the need for dangerous, expensive kerosene lamps.
Sustainability is also a key part of Bird’s offering, which it says is “only going to become more important.”
Mr Bird said: “Soon it will be the norm not the exception for businesses to show they understand the triple bottom line – business needs to be good for people and planet, as well as profit.
“Customers are increasingly aware of the impact of their purchases. Sustainability and social good is one trend that’s not going away.”
Although Bird sells its eco-friendly eyewear directly through its website, the founders are committed to stocking its products within High Street opticians. Bird eyewear is currently sold in 10 practices across the UK. The number is growing all the time and Mr Bird says that the company is “actively seeking new opticians.”
Speaking about the investment, Mr Bird said that he is “very excited. It’s a huge boost. Many people don’t realise we’ve achieved everything so far with very little resources and mostly working on the side around our day jobs. The investment means we’ve got the resources to fully focus on growing the business.”
He added: “We want to be at the forefront of sustainable eyewear, and become known for making frames that are beautiful, unique and have a great story behind them. We offer a range of great point of sale items, and often spend time in stores educating staff on materials and the stories behind the brand.”
Working with independents is a key growth point for the company. Mr Bird explained: “We love working with independents who can curate their collections and are looking for something unique to offer their customers. We’ve designed our ranges to give opticians confidence that they’re offering some of the best frames in the world.”
Find out more about Bird by visiting its website.