An introduction to Tom Davies...
Tom Davies is a prestigious handmade eyewear brand that offers a full Bespoke service using the highest quality materials, principally natural horn, pure titanium and cotton acetate.
Talk us through your latest innovations?
I’ve been working on introducing Carbon Fibre into Horn for around 3 years. I’ve just cracked it! I can now make luxury Horn glasses that are super thin and lightweight. I was wearing a pair of sunglasses made from Caron Horn on my last holiday and I can say that I will never be able to wear anything else again.
How do you get from idea to product?
Inspiration happens all day every day and actually, it is a nonstop stream in my brain. For example today, I was thinking about some of the graffiti in London. I think it would look great, screen printed onto a sheet of acetate and used as part of the sunglasses collection for my opticians in New York. Now that I have just launched my Made in England Factory in London I feel like I am being inspired by all the special features in the factory. I also just received a prototype sunglass frame that is only semi finished. I love the way the metal heat marks are still showing and the raw graphite texture of the titanium is still visible. I feel like this might turn into a Limited Edition range of men’s sunglasses...
What makes your products/services stand out from the competition?
Certainly having my own production here in the UK makes a difference. I am designing 10/15 new frames per week for my global collections. Before my UK factory, I had to wait 12 months to see new frames and new collections and even then, I could only make one set of prototypes. These days, my designs go through 4 or 5 versions before I’m happy with them, and this can all be done within 6/8 weeks. This level of control makes my service and product really stand out. I can deliver outstanding design, quality and service, not just in the frames but also by partnering with ZEISS, I am able to offer the best lenses as well.
What does the future hold for Tom Davies, and how do you see the industry evolving over the next decade?
Ultimately I would like to see my Made in England factory flourish. The new facility has the capacity to produce 10,000 frames per month and I expect to see this happen.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career/starting out in this sector?
Always focus on the customer. Whatever I create it is for the benefit of our customers. I know that sounds obvious, but too much design is based on the designers wish to create a masterpiece, and then hope that everyone wants it. In eyewear, success comes from a marriage of design and service. When I started TD Tom Davies I was 26. The first frame I sold was a Bespoke frame. Design and service, focused exclusively on the individual. It's a powerful combination.
What projects have you been involved in that you’re most proud of?
Bringing my production line back to the UK, at my new 'Made in England' factory. There are only a few eyewear brands that manufacture their own product. Having my own workshop gives me the freedom to experiment with creative ideas, textures and materials. Because I can control the whole process, the quality of every frame is amazing and the final fit is second to none.