Behind the brand

“It was mind blowing for us to see that we won”

Co-founder and sales executive for Okkul, Szabolcs Major, on winning the New Designer category at Love Eyewear Awards 2024 and the helping hands that have supporting the independent brand

woman wearing large sunglasses

Behind the scenes with Okkul

Who is Okkul?

Zsani wanted to start making frames because she couldn’t find the bold statement piece she was looking for. She has a pair of beautiful handmade frames that she brought from a company based in Camden Town, London, which she still adores, but we don’t really have these kinds of frames in Hungary. We love travelling and have seen a lot of brands that were really inspiring for us. Zsani brought some pieces of acetate and a saw and decided she wanted to do this for a living. We started selling at Silmo and Mido in 2023, and received lots of positive feedback. Now we have a lot of new customers and shops working with us. All of our frames are handmade in Hungary, we have our own craftsmen making cases, and we try to use the best quality materials.

What makes the company and its approach or products unique?

Our frames stand out because they are really bold. What we try to say with our designs is that you can wear a pair of glasses to express your personality. Our collection has a lot of vintage styles, and classic shapes and colours, but we give them a bold and heavy appearance. We do have some crazy shapes as well. When we started, we had some comments that people would not wear these designs, but we’ve sold a lot of them. There are a lot of people who love them.

When we make frames for individual clients, we send them pictures of how we make their frames. They can choose their own colours and become part of the process. It is something different because, usually, people pick a pair of sunglasses and that’s it, so they don’t know how it’s made.

Okkul’s frames are handmade by the founder, Zsani
Okkul’s frames are handmade by the founder, Zsani

What are Okkul’s main ambitions?

Our short-term goal is to be present in the UK. We’ve had some enquiries from the UK and hope we can explore that option to get our frames into some of the main cities in the UK. We need to work out how we can ship to the UK – we’ve had some issues with shipping and duties that would need to be resolved. We’d like to be present in the main European cities and go forward from there. We have a new client in Japan, which is super exciting, and we are working with new stores in Germany and Italy.

We want to expand our operations and so we are looking into our manufacturing processes. All of our frames are made by Zsani. She is able to make around 100 frames in four to five months. We’ve brought a CNC machine because we have to make so many frames and, currently, Zsani has been cutting them out of acetate sheets with a saw. Next year we would like to launch a big new collection with six new types of frame. Right now we are making eight styles in up to 10 finishes.

What did it mean to win the trophy for Love Eyewear Awards New Designer 2024 at 100% Optical?

We were signed up for the Love Eyewear Awards by a friend who told us very little about it. When we got in, I received an email from someone at 100% Optical, and I was like: ‘We made it!’ Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend the event as it was so close to Mido and we both have jobs alongside running Okkul, so it is really busy. We sent our frames along to 100% Optical and it was mind blowing for us to see that we won. We’re grateful for the judges, and hope to make it next year to present our collection. 

What challenges do you experience as a newer, independent brand in eyewear?

The main challenge for us is mostly that we don’t really have the education in Hungary on making frames. It was a really long road for us to experience making eyewear that could be used by people. There is education for this in Italy and France, but they are not in English, so it’s been hard for us to get through.

What have been the opportunities for the brand?

The fun and uplifting part of this journey has been that we’ve got to know a lot of brands and people: Danielle Rattray, and Nina Mur, for example. Everyone was so supportive and helpful. It is something which can be hard to find – people who want to help you – and that has been an absolute upside.