Product Business of the Year 2014
Start-up name: Eyespace
Founders: Julie Abel and Jayne Abel
Started in: 2013
Based in: Stourbridge, West Midlands
Business description: Fashion-conscious eyewear
You wait for an award, then two come along at once. Sisters and co-founders of Eyespace, Jayne and Julie Abel, were celebrating a double success in November after scooping both the Product Business of the Year at our Startups Awards and the Business Start-up Award at the Birmingham Post Business Awards.
Not bad going at all, but entirely justified for the fashion-conscious eyewear business. The Startups Awards judges were hugely impressed with the eyewear designs, rapid growth, and distribution deal Eyespace has secured to stock independent opticians nationwide.
It was enough for the company to beat the excellent fresh food delivery service and two-time finalist Gousto as well as fast-selling personalised books company Lost My Name, which has sold in excess of 100,000 books in over 100 countries.
With over 25 years in the optical industry and parents that started and built International Eyewear, this is one start-up you might have predicted would do great things, quickly.
But that’s not to say any of the achievements to date have been a given. With Jayne specialising as an optometrist and Julie a qualified accountant, the pair have built a design team using their international contacts while knowing precisely where to go to handle the manufacturing.
Already employing more than 20 and possessing an enviable pipeline of orders from the three largest purchasing groups for independent opticians, the Abel sisters’ business is delivering on all its promise. And they were delighted too.
“To be recognised in our first year as both one of the Midlands and the UK’s fastest-growing and most promising companies is an incredible accomplishment for everyone at Eyespace,” they said.
“We are as proud to be contributing positively to the growth of the economy as we are of every product that our team has brought to independent optical practices.
“For both awards, the judges commented that our products looks great, our marketing and imagery is slick, and our financials match up too – and we couldn’t be more pleased that they described Eyespace’s dramatic progress as ‘a great story’. It gives us confidence to continue delivering in the ways we have, and in the process help lift industry benchmarks as a whole.” Definitely worth keeping an eye on!