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Making a Statement Without Speaking

Nwamaka Ngoddy, OD, was seeing a problem. In her practice, Eyeserve Optometry, in the metro-Atlanta, Georgia, area, she was witnessing Black patients, her primary demographic, struggle to find frames that fit their features well. From Dr. Ngoddy’s website, “They often found the available selection of frames were not wide enough, the temples were too short and the bridge did not fit their noses.”

A first-generation American with Nigerian parents, Dr. Ngoddy is no stranger to the struggle of finding the perfect fit, and she decided to create a line of eyewear with these facial features in mind. “I’m into fashion and style, so this was a way I could tap into that creative side but also solve a need in the community,” she says. “We want to build a brand that makes a statement without speaking,” she says. “We believe fashion is in the fit and we want people to be excited about wearing the frames.”

The brand and frames are currently available for presale and will ship summer of 2021. The current selection of frames will be sold first as sunglasses, but all lenses can be changed out for prescription lenses, and all but one pair can be used as ophthalmic frames.

ENJOYING THE PROCESS

Currently, the line, Anwuli Eyewear, is in the preorder phase. “It’s such a learning curve with getting a brand off that ground,” she says. Due to the pandemic, she has faced the challenge of starting production with her manufacturer in Greece without being able to visit due to travel restrictions. “I want to make sure I’m maintaining my professional integrity by demonstrating the highest quality products and after testimonies and extensive sampling through the manufacturer, I felt confident,” she says.

The anticipation for the launch has remained steady. “People are really excited about the brand,” she says. “The feedback has been very positive, and I anticipate that it will continue to grow and skyrocket when people can touch them and feel them.” The prototypes have been shown to some of Dr. Ngoddy’s local colleagues and patients, and she used the feedback to determine the final sizing of the frames. She’s also had the opportunity to style individuals virtually for preorders which has given feedback on what frames and colors people gravitate towards. The eyewear line has begun online, and Dr. Ngoddy is currently making opportunities for wholesale available so that the frames can be in practices and opticals soon.

FAMILY, LOVE, PEACE, JOY

When patients go to the collection’s website, Anwulieyewear.com, they will find a menu that takes them to a tab titled “Shop the Royal Collection.” The names chosen for most of the frames come from the Igbo language of Nigeria, and each has a special meaning to her. “So, my father is the king of our town Atani [in Nigeria.] “Igwe” means “king,” and “Ada” means “first daughter.” I want people to read the descriptions and see a little of themselves,” she says. “All of the names in my culture have meanings, so I intertwined the meanings.”

She has also selected concepts that have universal appeal in naming some frames in the collection: the Love (Ifunaya) frame and the Peace (Udo) frame. “Anwuli,” the name of the brand, means joy. “So, you have the family and then love, peace and, of course, joy,” she says. “I want people to be joyful about their well fitting frames that make a statement without speaking.”

Practitioners and business owners interested in carrying the line can contact Dr. Ngoddy at [email protected].

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