The latest e-commerce company dipping its toes into the brick and mortar water? Tortoise & Blonde--with a little help from Urban Outfitters.
The hip New York-based eyewear brand with the tongue-in-cheek slogan “We want to sit on your face” has erected a pop-up shop at Urban Outfitters on Broadway in NYC where you can do more than just buy glasses. It will be serviced by the brand's staff of eyewear experts and, unlike a lot of retailers offering eyewear--where you have to purchase your glasses and then take them elsewhere to have a prescription put in--Tortoise & Blonde will do that stuff for you and ship you your glasses in three to five days.
Tortoise & Blonde co-founder Evan Weisfeld told us the concept came about after several successful collaborations with UO. "We started working with Urban Outfitters in 2011 on 'Store on Tour,' which led to employee Farmer's Markets at the Navy Yard, which turned into pop-up events for Lollapalooza and SXSW," he explained. "A longer-term, consistent set-up just seemed like the logical next step in our partner progression."
It also fits into UO's latest plans for expansion and unveiling of a new "lifestyle concept," as described in today's WWD.
Both brands also seem to cater to a similar customer: young people who want to look cool without spending too much--and who maybe want to emulate the hip musicians (Das Racist, Ra Ra Riot) whom Tortoise & Blonde often sponsor and collaborate with. Weisfeld describes that customer as "younger, fashionable, free spirited, adding that "the two brands also complement each other; we're able to capture the adolescent shopper, as well as their parent who truly appreciate the value T&B offers."
The 35-piece collection is on the affordable end, with prices ranging from $97 - $177.
Eyewear retail seems to be the game to get into lately. Steven Alan recently launched a full eyewear line and Warby Parker is bigger than ever, having recently opened a pretty impressive flagship on Greene street, and gotten an investment from J. Crew's Mickey Drexler.
Fortunately, the Urban partnership offers Tortoise & Blonde some distinction from its competitors. The pop-up opens quietly today on the store's second floor, and will remain there indefinitely.