Shattering the high cost of eyeglasses
Frank Walton glasses are stylish and inexpensive
On Norwegian television (NRK) they have a program about entrepreneurs. One of the entrepreneurs just presented was 23-year-old Espen Kopperud. According to the program, there are 500,000 “wannabes” in Norway. Espen’s advice to those who think about starting a business is simply to get started. If you don’t start now, you might as well give up because you never will. Secondly, you have to let the safety go. He started his own business to create something, build a brand, and make design available to people.
He got the idea after an eye examination. The glasses he needed ended up costing close to 5,000 NOK ($580 USD) even though his was a simple prescription. Frustrated by the high prices for just glass and plastic, he decided to do some research. He found out that there were some very large players that controlled the business. Inspired by other companies that were able to cut middlemen and unnecessary costs, he wanted to do the same in an industry that had had close to no innovation for the last hundred years.
After managing on his third try to be accepted at the Bocconi University in Milano, which is one of the ten best programs in economics in Europe according to Financial Times, he quit school in favor of starting on his own. One of his student friends had a father who was an investor. He liked the concept and invested half a million NOK in the startup. The concept was to establish his own quality designer glasses on the web under the name Frank Walton. This meant that when he opened his first store at Grünerløkka many already knew the brand. The area lies on the east side of Akerselva. Today a lot of young people reside here. Grünerløkka is trendy with a lot of little cafés, restaurants, and bars. It is also a popular shopping district with original design shops and vintage and second-hand stores. A lot of entrepreneurs live here and the nickname for the neighborhood among innovators is Gründer (entrepreneur) løkka.
The Frank Walton store stands out with books and a typical British leather sofa that takes you back to a typical gentleman’s club. The homepage shows pictures from New York City. This gives the company a global high-end look. They believe in high quality design and good value for money. The glasses are inspired by the 1960s vintage look with a modern style. Frank Walton wants to create models that will become classics in the future.
Recently the second and third stores were opened at Triaden on the east side of Oslo and Sandvika Storsenter on the west side. Both are among Norway’s largest shopping centers. The goal is to become the largest in glasses in Scandinavia in five years.
There are some very successful people out there, and many of them share their experience in talks and books. There is a lot of inspiration out there!
This article originally appeared in the March 18, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.