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Our Story

THE MAKING OF A
STATE OPTICAL CO. FRAME

A closer look at U.S. eyewear manufacturing –
built from the ground up – right here in Chicago.

THE MAKING OF A
STATE OPTICAL CO. FRAME

A closer look at U.S. eyewear manufacturing –
built from the ground up – right here in Chicago.

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‘MADE IN AMERICA’
IS MORE THAN JUST A LABEL

IT’S A STATE OF MIND

And a vision for where we’re going.

We are a society of proud, driven, uniquely interesting independents.
Each of us, an original in our own way;
Passionately, and purposefully, driven to make our own marks in this world.
Authors of our own destiny;
With a genuine desire to simply state “who we are”
Authentically, and with impact.
In a way that inspires others to take notice;
That inspires others to follow.

Therefore, STATE eyewear is a symbol of an ideal. Meticulously handcrafted to be a genuine expression of one’s personal style and distinct personality. Designed to be every bit as substantive, captivating and original as the people who wear them.

As a company that challenges the status quo; that is blazing its own path despite being told, “it can’t be done;” that is by every measure of the phrase “self-made in America,” STATE envisions America through the lens of “New Originals.” Artists, musicians, architects, scientists, fashion designers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, etc. – all makers and doers – who, like us, are out there making and doing things that redefine what America means and stands for in their own unique ways. From their own unique perspectives.

These fierce independents represent the next wave of American iconoclasts. To tell their story is to tell our own.


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OUR PASSION LIES IN CREATING FRAMES DESERVING OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WEAR THEM.

Individuals recognized for what they do, not only what they wear. Individuals who appreciate that how your frame is made is as important as how it looks.

The aesthetic for the collection was meticulously crafted by Blake Kuwahara, a licensed optometrist and the industry’s preeminent American eyewear designer. The introductory line includes 12 styles – with each pair undergoing an arduous process of 75+ steps and hundreds of hours, turning the employees behind the brand into an elite group of artisans, handcrafting luxury eyewear.

We are proud to introduce STATE. The first-of-its-kind luxury eyewear brand, designed and manufactured exclusively in America.

IN 2012 MARC FRANCHI AND JASON STANLEY HAD AN IDEA THAT EVERYONE TOLD THEM WAS IMPOSSIBLE

– that they could find a way to manufacture high quality eyewear in the United States. The two first cousins and self-described ‘gear heads,’ began traveling the world, researching machinery and techniques and eventually built their own factory in Ventura, California.

Also in 2012, Scott Shapiro & Jerry Wolowicz – executives at a family owned, independent eyewear company – set out to create the world’s first truly American brand of luxury eyewear. After countless meetings with artisans and professionals throughout the industry, they finally found a partner that shared their vision.

It was clear that a collaboration with Marc & Jason could quickly become something transformative, and the four of them began discussing a new venture. In 2014, Marc & Jason moved themselves, their families and key employees to Chicago to team with Scott & Jerry and form a new entity.

This is the story so far of State Optical Co. – a brand fueled by an intrinsic motivation to accomplish the improbable and blaze its own path despite evidence that “it can’t be done.”

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story-1

OUR PASSION LIES IN CREATING FRAMES DESERVING OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WEAR THEM.

Individuals recognized for what they do, not only what they wear. Individuals who appreciate that how your frame is made is as important as how it looks.

The aesthetic for the collection was meticulously crafted by Blake Kuwahara, a licensed optometrist and the industry’s preeminent American eyewear designer. The introductory line includes 12 styles – with each pair undergoing an arduous process of 75+ steps and hundreds of hours, turning the employees behind the brand into an elite group of artisans, handcrafting luxury eyewear.

We are proud to introduce STATE. The first-of-its-kind luxury eyewear brand, designed and manufactured exclusively in America.

story-2

IN 2012 MARC FRANCHI AND JASON STANLEY WERE CONVINCED

– despite conventional wisdom – that they could find a way to manufacture high quality eyewear in the United States. The two first cousins and self-described ‘gear heads,’ began traveling the world, researching machinery and techniques and eventually built their own factory in Ventura, California.

Also in 2012, Scott Shapiro & Jerry Wolowicz – executives at a family owned, independent eyewear company – set out to create the world’s first truly American brand of luxury eyewear. After countless meetings with artisans and professionals throughout the industry, they finally found a partner that shared their vision.

It was clear that a collaboration with Marc & Jason could quickly become something transformative, and the four of them began discussing a new venture. In 2014, Marc & Jason moved themselves, their families and key employees to Chicago to team with Scott & Jerry and form a new entity.

This is the story so far of State Optical Co. – a brand fueled by an intrinsic motivation to accomplish the improbable and blaze its own path despite evidence that “it can’t be done.”

OUR CRAFTSMEN

Marc Franchi

Marc Franchi

President

Start Date:

6/9/14

Previous Experience:

Co-owner and co-founder of American Eyes Manufacturing and Frieze Frames

“My best day at work is seeing one of my guys figure out a new and better way to do something or exploring new opportunities for our company, breaking new ground”

Jason Stanley

Jason Stanley

Vice President

Start Date:

6/9/14

Previous Experience:

Co-owner and co-founder of American Eyes Manufacturing and Frieze Frames

“To me, ‘made in America’ means ‘made with pride’. I believe Americans in any area of manufacturing are extremely proud of their occupation and the product they produce.”

Sheli Ptak

Sheli Ptak

Polishing

Start Date:

3/11/15

Previous Experience:

Prototyping and management

“Fine detail makes every piece original”

Matther Marchand

Matther Marchand

Detail finishing

Start Date:

7/21/15

Previous Experience:

Automotive maintenance

“Craftsmanship is doing the best that I am able, while bettering my skills.”

Jonas Rhoton

Jonas Rhoton

Wire shooting

Start Date:

3/30/15

Previous Experience:

Electrical

“Craftsmanship is an art.”

Michael Laffey

Michael Laffey

Hand working

Start Date:

8/12/15

Previous Experience:

Distribution specialist at Europa Eyewear

“The impossible is possible here.”

Vitalty Vaysberg

Vitaly Vaysberg

CNC machining

Start Date:

3/30/15

Previous Experience:

Quality control for LED ballasts

“Creating eyewear is not just a process, it’s an art.”

Austin Deblauw

Austin Deblauw

Production Floor Manager

Start Date:

6/9/14

Previous Experience:

Production Supervisor at American Eyes Manufacturing

“Once I hear the machines warm up and turn on, it’s go time.”

Steven Meyer

Steven Meyer

Any job required to build innovative eyewear

Start Date:

8/14/15

Previous Experience:

Custom motorcycle building

“Every detail reflects in the following step until the frame is completed. It is that attention to detail that sets this brand apart.”

Kristofer McIntyre-Hammond

Kristofer McIntyre-Hammond

The whole process

Start Date:

8/3/15

Previous Experience:

Shop manager

“Do it right the first time”

Raul Gutierrez

Raul Gutierrez

Handwork

Start Date:

7/6/15

Previous Experience:

Distribution specialist

“It’s an art that I love.”

Aaron Christy

Aaron Christy

Hand prototyping

Start Date:

7/6/15

Previous Experience:

Key craftsman at American Eyes Manufacturing in Ventura, CA

“If it’s not crafted to your best ability, then you might as well not do it.”

Carl Cuicci

Carl Cuicci

Lenses

Start Date:

3/2/15

Previous Experience:

Thermoforming

“The high quality that goes into each frame will be seen by so many people.”

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FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW TO SET UP A FACTORY TOUR


FULL NAME
COMPANY NAME

EMAIL ADDRESS
PHONE NUMBER