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Q&A with Bec Bennett, Director of EYETRIBE.


What made you want to start your business?

I have been in the eyewear industry for over 15 years, starting with Oakley and have spent many years designing ranges for other fashion brands. In 2008 I launched my business EYETRIBE and started with kids’ eyewear as it was a market niche being neglected at the time. The desire to create high quality, protective eyewear for kids and to add loads of kid friendly features has inspired me to create my own labels. It allows a small business like ours to sneak some market share and communicate our own message clearly.

What made you want to design kid eyewear?

In an earlier role as Marketing Manager for Little Athletics I would see kids on the track wearing hats and sunscreen but still suffering headaches and nausea from the reflective glare. At the beach this was also evident with kids in hats, sunscreen and sun suits but no sunglasses. Mums were watching their kids from behind their sunglasses but very limited eye protection was available for children. After many years of designing sunglasses for other brands and managing the development of the eyewear for The Cancer Council, I finally decided to quit my job and set my focus children’s eyewear, creating high quality designs that were both functional and stylish.

Can you explain the differences between the kids’ collections?

Our Frankie Ray kids’ collection is a fashion inspired collection of sunglasses for babies and kids aged 0 – 10 years. The range is full of personality and patterns and has loads of style options to suit different face shapes and protect little peepers. All frames are fitted with A-Grade shatterproof polycarbonate that comply with the Australian Standards and provide 100% UV protection. Mini SQUIDS (0 – 2 years) & SQUIDS (3 years +) are our high flex aquatic range of sunglasses for babies and kids. The Mini Squids/Squids range is designed to provide maximum protection and comfort with a close fitting wrap design and a flexible floating frame that is fitted with EVA foam inserts for added The Squids line is designed to withstand active outdoor play and is ideal for the extra protection required at the beach or pool when reflective sun glare is at its most damaging. We encourage babies and children to wear their Squids during waterplay to provide optimal eye protection and keep them comfortable and happy. The design is tactile, flexible and has smooth rounded edges The Squids model is a technical piece, jam packed with features that has set new global standards in kids’ eye protection.

Where do you get your design inspiration from?

Frankie Ray is all about translating designer eyewear into a fun, fashionable range for kids. We keep a close eye on international eyewear trends and then have some fun developing miniature, cuter, more colourful versions for our on-trend customers. The Squids line is more focused on function and customizing a design to suit our Australian beach lifestyle. I thought about how comfort, durability and flexibility were paramount to a good design for kids. I also drew inspiration from the sea dwelling Squid itself! The arms of the sunglasses are designed to be slightly longer so they wrap and grip around kids’ temples, a bit like tentacles. The frame also has squishy EVA inserts and is designed with rounded edges. Our Squids sunnies can swim too!

Other than online, where can we purchase these sunglasses from?

The Frankie Ray range is available from leading kids’ fashion boutiques. Mini Squids are available at Baby Bunting, Swimwear Galore and also selected kids’ boutiques. For more retailers, please go to the stockist list at www.bloomandgrow.com.au