Woodwork meets fashion with hand-made sunglasses from Greece
Xylo Eyewear has set a new fashion trend in Greece with their collection of wooden sunglasses, hand-made on the Cycladic island of Syros.
Founders Periklis Therrios and Eleni Bakondiou possessed many years of experience in woodwork as a hobby, occasionally creating wooden toys, gifts, small household objects, and jewelry. Before beginning their new business in the summer of 2013, Periklis was an assistant nurse at an animal hospital, and Eleni worked at a company that rented sailboats.
At some point in the middle of the crisis, the married couple found themselves unemployed and left with a lot of time on their hands. Almost at random, they came up with the idea to turn something they enjoyed doing into a viable business.
“It was a thought we had one day,” Eleni says. “We literally woke up and thought to make wooden sunglasses. We didn’t think that they existed elsewhere when we first started, so we were slightly disappointed when we found other examples of wooden sunglasses online. But, we didn’t let go of the idea and we wanted to offer a better product.”
Dedicated to pursue this project, they took samples of olive tree wood and began creating several prototypes. For Perikli and Eleni, working with wood was a natural choice because it offers flexibility in design, and just like living trees, it lasts a long time.
Production on the new wooden sunglasses soon hit a stopping point, however, as they could not continue without the appropriate tools, materials, and equipment. After about a year working on the project, the couple decided to launch a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo in May of 2013, with help from design and marketing students at the Aegean University.
“We didn’t have a lot of capital to spend on testing different types of wood,” Eleni says. “But this helped us in a way because we were forced to really study the properties of different wood before making prototypes. We already had the knowledge of working with wood and the only issue was putting that into practice.”
The couple had initially set their goal to raise 15,000 euros, but by the end of the campaign last summer, their project was overfunded by 51 percent. The crowd funding campaigned essentially helped them launch the brand, purchase the necessary equipment, and begin manufacturing the unique pieces for customers.
Since then, Xylo Eyewear has produced hundreds of preordered sunglasses in four original styles that offer a twist on classic looks.
Made from all natural materials with wood samples from around the world, the eyewear reflects this couple’s true interest in creating a unique item from scratch. Even the final protective coating of the sunglasses is bereft of harsh chemicals, the designers note. Instead, the couple created their own natural finish from bee’s wax and olive oil.
With the project now successfully funded and the business officially launched, Xylo Eyewear looks forward to further expanding into the Mediterranean market.