Designer Eyewear Group was started in 2012 and, with the help of private investors, began acquiring designer eyewear brands as Mr. Flyvholm elaborates: “The goal was to acquire brands that would benefit from collaboration with other designers. We looked for brands with prestige and the potential to become internationally successful. All they required was investment that a small firm alone could not make.”
The portfolio began with ProDesign Denmark in 2012, proceeded rapidly to add Inface, FACE A FACE and WOOW in 2014 and Nifties and Kilsgaard Eyewear in 2017. As Mr. Flyvholm is keen to point out: “Each brand complements the portfolio and brings something different. Collaboration generates innovation and gives our customers more choice.”
The emphasis on increased choice has been a major aspect of the company’s strategy. The synergy between the six brands continues to generate cuttingedge, high quality frame designs for the catalogue, as Mr. Flyvholm explains: “Each of our six brands has between 200 and 600 frames and counting. Expanding the breadth and quality of our range has played a major part in persuading our retail partners to order from across the portfolio.”
When Mr. Flyvholm was appointed as CEO in 2015, only about 10% of the company’s client opticians were using multiple brands. Today it is upwards of 30%. “We have really begun to emphasize the scope of our portfolio to our clients, and for many we are now their biggest source of eyewear,” he says.
The rapid success of this growth strategy owes much to Mr. Flyvholm’s leadership and international commercial experience. Before joining Design Eyewear Group, he worked for Bang and Olufsen, stationed in Asian, European and North American markets.
“In my previous role, reading end-consumer needs alongside producing iconic designs was key to the brand gaining a foothold. It is now established as a high-end player in a market traditionally dominated by Asian and North American tech giants. Bringing that same combination to Design Eyewear Group is making a big difference to the company’s growth prospects.”
For Mr. Flyvholm, as well as emphasizing the availability of the whole portfolio to retail partners, further developing the company’s international reach has also been key. “Since Denmark, our home market, is so small, it has been essential for us to build on our international presence and develop recognized international designer brands,” he points out: “97% of our product sales are already international with the US and France as our biggest markets, but to grow, we are putting a lot of effort into international marketing. The second international aspect is that our clients also demand great value, so to deliver the latter we have a large network of suppliers in Asia, Italy and France. This helps us stay competitive and allows us to devote more resources to design and further development of our six brands.”
We have really begun to emphasis the scope of our inventory to our clients and for many we are now their biggest source of eyewear. Lars FlyvholmCEO
Design Eyewear Group has always looked to work with independent opticians. It is a relationship that has been highly successful. When asked about the future, the relationship between Design Eyewear Group and its retail partners is something Mr. Flyvholm would like to see developed further: “That relationship is so important because independent opticians tend to care about design. Our development strategy has two key priorities: to invest in the service we offer, for example the ordering process, and the sales training. We want our customers to be experts on our products and to be confident in our brands. As much as the aesthetics are important when choosing eyewear, it also has to match the needs of the wearer, and fit perfectly. This is why working with our partners to deliver a high-quality shop-floor service is key.”
A global expansion plan for the multi-brand business, delivered through local, independent opticians, is proving to be the perfect strategy for the company. It matches its passion: Turning great designs into great business. Under Mr. Flyvholm’s leadership, Design Eyewear Group is successfully bringing top quality international design to the world’s local independent opticians.