Coral Eyewear wraps up successful Kickstarter ahead of autumn launch

Founder, George Bailey, tells OT  about the Kickstarter campaign and the next steps to bring Coral Eyewear’s sustainable frames to the High Street

CoralEyewear frames
Coral Eyewear has completed a Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness of the eyewear brand’s green goals and support a scale-up in production of the frames and sustainable packaging solutions.

The campaign ran in July and reached its £10,000 target in just two weeks. Now completed, the campaign has raised £13,070 with over 100 supporters.

Coral Eyewear creates its frames from recycled and regenerated material, called Econyl, aiming to curb the need for new plastic in eyewear production, while also removing abandoned fishing nets from the oceans.

As part of the brand’s sustainable vision, frames are provided with a protective case made from recycled plastic. The frames can also be returned to Coral Eyewear after use for recycling, which the company hopes will “close the loop” and help develop a circular economy for the frames.

Released exclusively to Kickstarter supporters, the brand recently revealed two designs from its new Endangered collection, named to raise awareness of marine animals facing extinction.

With the campaign complete, Coral Eyewear plans to launch the full collection of six frames in autumn and bring its eyewear to the High Street. OT spoke to Coral Eyewear founder, George Bailey, about the Kickstarter campaign and the next steps for the brand.

Could you tell us about the decision to launch a Kickstarter?

The Kickstarter campaign was all about raising awareness of our ‘why’. We wanted to share what inspired us to invest in using rescued and recycled materials. Kickstarter is also a great platform for testing the demand for a product or idea; with 116 backers in 30 days we are really excited to see a community of like-minded people joining together to make a difference. The next step is to take that excitement and passion for sustainability on to the High Street with independent optical practices.

How did it feel to reach the funding target within two weeks of launching the Kickstarter?

The support has been incredible and I’m so delighted that people believe in the impact that this idea can create. I think people are starting to see that creating a product with recycled materials doesn’t have to impact quality.

What will be the plan for the funds raised?

The Kickstarter campaign has enabled us to work on new models and designs, which will be released next year. We’re focused on working in an agile manner as we don’t want frames going to waste or sitting in warehouses for long periods of time.

How has COVID-19 impacted Coral Eyewear and your plans for the past few months?

Like the entire industry, we had to adapt with significant changes to the timing of our production runs. Our product launch will now take place in September, which is a little later than expected. On the whole, I feel it’s so important to remain positive and supportive of the independent opticians who have been so receptive of our ideas in the past year.

The huge changes brought about by COVID-19 need to be used as a way of kickstarting the green recovery and I hope our frame recycling scheme will play a big part in that.

You recently announced a partnership with Formula E driver Alexander Sims. Can you tell us about this step?

The FIA Formula E championship actively promotes solutions to fight against air pollution and environmental issues. Alexander is one of the best British drivers around, but more importantly he also has a strong track-record of championing sustainable swaps through driving electric vehicles and cutting down on single-use plastics. With Alexander wearing our glasses, we really believe that we can change the way people see sustainable materials in the eyewear industry.

With lockdown restrictions easing and the Kickstarter a success, what will be your next steps?

We’ve had some amazing conversations over the past few months and the partnership with Alexander Sims has generated a lot of interest. We’re looking forward to exploring offers from distributors as well as continuing to grow our connections with independent store owners. We’re really looking forward to being out on the road in September.