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Good Karma: market welcomes new female-led frame brand

The business gives £1 from every frame sold to Women Supporting Women

Julie and lisa

A frame brand with a social mission is making waves after debuting this spring.

Female-led frame supplier Good Karma launched at 100% Optical in April, where the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Good Karma gives a pound from every frame sold to Women Supporting Women, part of the Prince’s Trust – all part of a positive ethos, as demonstrated in its name.

The brand is modelled by women that the founders know, rather than professional models.

Founder, Lisa Laurent, told OT that at the trade show: “We had far more conversations than we’d hoped for. I’ve done shows for years with various companies, so I knew what to expect, but it was way more successful than I’d imagined. We’ve had a lot of support from other companies, and other women in business. That was really nice.”

Heather frame
Good Karma’s ‘Heather’ frame
She added: “Since we’ve launched, there have been offers of help and support, and just a real camaraderie.”

Laurent’s business partner is Julie Bridgewater, with whom she has also owned an optical practice for a decade.

Good Karma is based in Redditch, Worcestershire. Since 100% Optical the brand has opened accounts with independent practices in the southeast, Scotland and Ireland, as well as in the West Midlands.

The frames are designed by the founders themselves. The aim is to have 32 women’s styles by the end of the year, as well as 12 men’s frames.

Laurent explained the origins of the business. “It’s been in my head for 15 years,” she said. “I worked for William Morris for seven or eight years, and then Wolf for five. Always, in the back of my mind, was that I wanted to do this range. I used to think, ‘Why aren’t they using real people for models, as opposed to a 20-year-old from a modelling agency who doesn’t even wear glasses?’”

Laurent added that, from experience in her previous roles, she was very aware that there was a shortage of petite, as well as larger, frames.

“Normally you have to buy a chunky men’s black or grey frame,” she said. “That was always in my head. And then obviously, we had the pandemic, and we just decided to do it. Julie decided to indulge me. We thought, ‘what have we got to lose?’”

The show proved a good launch pad, Laurent said, providing a slew of solid leads and a number of bookings with practices.

Laurent is now working on the range full-time, while Julie works in their co-owned optometry practice.

The team plans to get involved in Women for Women’s events in the future, and is hoping that the local community in Redditch will get involved if they host fundraising events locally.

“I hope local opticians will support, for example, if we put on a Brilliant Breakfast,” Laurent said. “It would be really cool if we could get some of our customers to support that.”

“We feel very fortunate, as women, to be in business,” she continued. “We’ve worked really hard, but we’ve had a lot of women supporting us, so that’s why we wanted to give back to the charity. That’s how that that came about. We’ve got the whole positivity vibe.”

The business is progressing quickly, with discussions for a potential men’s range, linked to a charity in the suicide prevention or mental health space, already taking place.

Aside from this, what are Good Karma’s ambitions for the next 12 months?

“Obviously, to grow the brand,” Laurent said. “We haven't got aspirations to be a £4 million turnover business, because that isn't our business model. Yes, we want to turn over a nice amount of money and yes, we want to support our charity, but equally we don’t want to saturate the market so we have to be in every opticians in every town.”

She doesn’t want to risk the brand growing and then petering out, she explained: “I want it to be nice and steady. I’d rather take it abroad, if I wanted to grow the business, than saturate the UK market.”

She added: “We just want to run a company that supports decent salaries for people, and just enjoy life.”

Find out more about Good Karma on their website.