Photo: Eyewear by Article One; the first handcrafted eyewear brand designed in Flint, Michigan, includes both sunwear and an optical wear.
By Tanya Terry
Article One is the first handcrafted eyewear brand designed in Flint, Michigan with 350 locations worldwide, and now the community can feel good about the fact there is a flagship store right here in the founder and CEO’s hometown! A ribbon cutting was recently held at Article One’s new location in the Capitol Theatre.
To Wes Stoody; founder and CEO of Article One, it’s important to build anything of quality in Flint because it shows people inside of Flint and outside that high quality brands can be built in the city.
Stoody has traveled and learned extensively in order to have a brand that is also giving back to the local community.
“It could be in New York. It could be in L.A. But we decided to do it in our hometown of Flint, Michigan. It’s another symbol of the rebound of downtown Flint. I don’t necessarily think that one single store is going to rebound the economy, but I hope it at least is a symbol of our comeback,” Stoody said.
While Stoody was building the brand, they went all over the world. He started in China. Then, he started working with the brand at a factory in Turkey. Article One production was moved to Italy about four years ago.
“When we decided we really cared mostly about creating high quality, hand crafted brands, the only place we could really do it was Italy,” Stoody said.
Article One works with about 10 optometrists in the Flint area. In 2019, the company did about a million in revenue. The company has grown about 30-50 percent every year.
“I’d like to keep that up, personally,” Stoody said.
He said there has been a lot of trial and error within the company, which now works with three family-owned companies in Italy. Stoody now owns the company with his sister.
“Small businesses are mainly going to support slow manufacturing. We’re very much against fast fashion from an environmental standpoint and ethical standpoint. From an economic standpoint, we believe in supporting downtown local retail versus Amazon or Walmart.”
There are about 30 styles of frames glasses currently available through Article One, many of them coming in a variety of colors. So, there are about 200 different SKUs. There is also a sun collection. The sunglasses are only available online because Stoody only believes in selling glasses through optometry or optical shops. The whole collection is vintage inspired; classic, timeless designs that could be from any decade.
“The one that really inspired part of our collection would be our active collection that is geared towards sports. We wanted to marry our vintage esthetic with sports utilitarianism. So they really stick on your face while you’re running or biking.”
The company has donated $17,000 to Helen Keller International. When Stoody started he wanted to help combat vitamin A deficiency, which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We do this to do good. That nonprofit is really not a main focus of our doing good now. Really where we focus our efforts now is in our community in Flint. So, we partner with Flint organizations like Job Corps-Flint and GearUp Academy to give students an opportunity to work here and learn on the job.”
For details, visit ArticleOneEyewear.com.