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Opium Eyewear – the pioneer of luxury, premium fashion and sports eyewear in India

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ST Bureau
Mumbai

“We created an entirely new segment in the sports market when we introduced Oakley to the country for the first time. We’ve previously been associated with the world’s largest eyewear companies like Luxottica and Marcolin, and managed brands such as Bvlgari, Chanel, and Mont Blanc. Currently, we work with some amazing high luxury brands such as Cartier, Chrome Hearts, DITA and exclusive partnership with Kering Eyewear for brands like Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent.”- Ronak Sheth, Founder, Opium Eyewear.

In an exclusive interview with Startup Terminal, Ronak Sheth, Founder, Opium Eyewear tells more about the brand and future goals.

Excerpts:

Ronak Sheth, Founder, Opium Eyewear
ST: What inspired you to
make your mark in the field of entrepreneurship? 
The
need to create something and the need to leave a legacy behind and create
something that has a purpose beyond reason. It needs to have a life longer than
the self is predominantly why.  
ST: When did you start your
venture? Please tell us about your venture
.
We’ve
been creating trends, raising the bar and blazing trails since 1998.
We’ve
been proud pioneers of luxury, premium fashion and sports eyewear in India. We
created an entirely new segment in the sports market when we introduced Oakley
to the country for the first time. We’ve previously been associated with the
world’s largest eyewear companies like Luxottica and Marcolin, and managed
brands such as Bvlgari, Chanel, and Mont Blanc. Currently, we work with some
amazing high luxury brands such as Cartier, Chrome Hearts, DITA and exclusive
partnership with Kering Eyewear for brands like Alexander McQueen, Bottega
Veneta and Saint Laurent.
Eventually,
about 5 years ago we started OPIUM Eyewear.
ST: What business opportunities do you see
particularly in your sector?
Our
sector has just about started. The consumer is now finally thinking about
eyewear seriously. What was first used only for utility is now a fashion necessity.
We’re at a very nascent stage – people either don’t purchase sunglasses even
though they really need it or they purchase much more purely out of wanting to
wear different sunglasses at different places and occasions. There’s now a
separate sunglass for travel, separate for parties and sundowners, separate for
weddings. So the opportunity of growth is tremendous. In terms of business
opportunities, prescription sunglasses seems to be a neglected market that
needs to be tapped, screen eyewear for people who use their iphones and tablets
a lot is also a market that needs to be tapped.  
ST: How has been your
entrepreneurship journey so far? 
We at
Eternity have been around brands all the time and it was a matter of time that
we started our own. Opium was born around 5 years back. We were sure we
wanted to be in fast fashion category however we wanted to do it in an exciting
way. Thereby starting from the name Opium to our imagery and visual appeal we
have always tried to go beyond the normal. We wanted to establish a brand from
the consumer’s lens and not base it on Industry point of view. We have created
a space for OPIUM, which is all about interestingness; it’s about how you look
at it. Each one has a point of View, which is unique and interesting in its own
way.


We
created OPIUM Colorfornia, which had only 2 styles but the world’s largest
collection in Aviator and Wayfarer. Each one having more than 60 colours and
2-3 size each. It was a unique innovation in product offering. Our
packaging has won accolades; recently we won the best packaging award, Blue
Elephant at Kyoorious Design Yatra, 2016, amongst multiple products, not just
eyewear. And our product design has always been exceptional; because we
believe truly that product is the king. We say the least and let it do the
talking.
ST: As an entrepreneur, what
challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?
Standardization
is difficult to attain in each of the functions of an organization – so we have
to keep adapting and changing continuously for different things – a lot of time
gets wasted because we’re not very process driven. Lack of planning by the
general customers is also affecting the business, because you generally plan
your business and now even have to plan the customers business. Attracting the
right talent and its retention is difficult.
ST: How big is your team?
Are you planning to hire more?
Our
team is currently over 450 people, spread across 94 cities in India.
ST: What are your future
plans? 
We
have big expansion plans for OPIUM. We have only scratched the surface. The
market is big and the important players have not made a big impact. There is
still a long way to go to get even a reasonable share of the current market. We
are expanding our product offering, furthering our brand into limited editions
and special editions, collaborating with influencers.
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