Ready for Liftoff
For the speed issue we take a look at forward-thinking disruptors and innovators from the startup capitals of the world. These are the people behind the big ideas that are changing the future, coming up with new ways to look at old problems, and in the process inspiring us by their entrepreneurial spirit and their ambition to execute change.
Interview JUSTIN ROSS
YAIR NEUMAN, WIRES
Curious Daring Simple | A Fresh Take on Eyewear Design, Wires Reimagined
Position: Founder and Designer
“When you innovate you have to move fast as good ideas catch on”
Who is Wires Glasses?
Wires glasses is an independent eyewear brand which looks to change how eyewear is made and worn. We aim to minimize material usage in design and production, and encourage you to keep your pair of wires for life. The glasses are made from a single piece of stainless steel wire with an invisible screw-less hinge mechanism which pairs with lens rims in a variety of shapes. This modular approach to eyewear means that you can change your look without needing to buy a whole new pair of glasses.
Why did you start your company?
The idea for Wires came after I needed some sunglasses for a holiday and made a pair with what I had in my studio. This became the first prototype. But I’ve been obsessed with wire for a long time and the possibilities it presents to create and shape. You only need to look at African wire craft, especially in Zimbabwe, where our first collection was made. I see wire as living between a 2D and a 3D world. It can be a flat signature or silhouette but also a complex deep structure. So, that summer day back in 2016 it made perfect sense for me to wear a piece of wire around my head with some lens rims which I’d 3D printed in the workshop! The result is a simplified eyewear frame based on what’s needed to hold the lenses in the right place.
What makes your company different?
We aim to minimize material usage in design and production, and encourage our customers to have their pair of wires for life. We want people to treat and wear Wires in the same way they would a necklace or a ring.
What have you learned from starting a company?
That it’s all about the people who form it.
What were the most difficult challenges along the way?
Finding the right core team of people to work with and the producers who are willing to take risks.
What did you do before your current role?
Produced ceramic speakers in Stoke on Trent (England’s pottery town).
Where do you look for inspiration as an entrepreneur? Any books or role models that have been particularly influential?
Fashion idols like Bowie or Oskar Schlemmer are kind of a default. I now find myself looking more into structures and mechanisms, bringing them out from the backstage and try to reveal their beauty.
What does it mean to be a startup?
That it’s both reassuring and pressuring that someone believes you’ll succeed big time.
Is it important to be first or fastest?
It depends. In a highly competitive market such as eyewear with the well-established brands, when you innovate you have to move fast as good ideas catch on. Though for a new brand this can be more challenging as production and distribution is still being built and need time for testing.
What advice do you have for people with a great idea who want to start their own business?
Try not to fall in love with your own creation and when appropriate let others lead.
In ten years where do you want to be?
In a small Greek village working on new ranges that will bring technology and fashion even closer together in ways that would benefit both the user and the environment.
Photo: courtesy of Wires