Moscot opens in Paris’ Marais
Moscot, the 103-year-old New York optical institution, has opened in the Marais district of Paris, the latest careful expansion by the brand favoured by the likes of Johnny Depp, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Lady Gaga and Demi Moore, to name a few.
Located in a two-floor space at 26 rue du Temple in the Marais, the store is Moscot’s ninth free-standing boutique, joining a network that includes Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Seoul and four stores in New York.
“Our DNA is like the neighbourhood our brand grew up in, the Lower East Side of New York; authentic, quirky, sturdy and not taking ourselves too serious,” says CEO Harvey Moscot; before his son Zack adds: “It’s the Downtown sensibility, which we know pretty well.”
They are the fourth and fifth generation of the 100%-owned family firm, founded by great, great grandfather Hyman Moscot, who landed at Ellis Island in 1899, underwent a name change, and later started selling eyeglasses from a pushcart on the Lower East Side, the famed melting pot of the world.
From its earliest days, Moscot was known for its famed giant eye window sign at the Williamsburg Bridge, often speculated to be the inspiration for the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg billboard, the Simulacrum for God in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The signature daffodil yellow exterior of the Marais store boasts a smaller version of these spectacles.
The interior captures Moscot’s unique blend of memorabilia – cameras, old phones, leather-bound books and their famed papier maché Moscot Heads made of images of stars wearing Moscot. It’s also located close to the new Galeries Lafayette Anticipations arts foundation, and a new Marais metro exit, due to open in three years at the Hôtel de Ville station, will help to drive traffic.
Their glasses are hand-made of Italia acetate and Zeiss prescription lens. Lens of plastic except for the mineral lens sunglasses. All high-end quality with around 130 steps to make their fine reading glasses.
Its key collection is Moscot Originals, updated versions of “classic fare from the 30s to the 80s,” explained Zack, the brand’s designer. The finished product manages to look both reliable and cool.
The family is coy about annual sales; however they will admit that they manufacture over 100,000 pairs of glasses annually in a factory of 150 workers in the Chinese province of Guang Dong. Given that their average price point is between $280 and $300, that suggests their annual revenue is some $30 million. With a breakdown of 65% optical and 35% sunglasses. Its web business represents 8% of annual turnover, while the company has wholesale sales office in NYC, Lugano and, since last month, Hong Kong.
Today, Moscot sells in some 2,000 doors worldwide, primarily high-end optical stores, which must take a minimum of 36 SKUs. Selling in top line locations like Barneys, Conran’s in London and Dover Street Market, with whom they make monthly exclusives.
“Our success is a consequence of where we began on the Lower East Side. It’s where young artists could afford to live, from Bob Dylan on,” says Harvey, a more-than-decent lead guitarist, who stages monthly Moscot Music parties in the NYC flagship.
“Humour, fashion and heritage, they are still the three key factors in our stall,” concludes Harvey.
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