The Long View: Moscot’s Retail Expansion

LONDON — For family-owned, American luxury eyewear brand Moscot, it’s not just about what meets the eye, but the heart, too.

The five-generation-old company that started out as a brick-and-mortar store in 1915 still sees physical stores as near and dear to the core of the business.

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All of the stores follow a homogeneous uniform of wooden interiors with spectacles on display on the walls and behind glass counters resembling a jewelry store. A pair of neon-lit spectacles are installed in each shop as a running motif.

The stores alone could serve as a set for a fictional Wes Anderson feature film about a family-run business, not so dissimilar to the 2021 comedy drama “The French Dispatch.”

“Walking into a Moscot shop, whether it’s in New York City, Los Angeles or King’s Road Chelsea in London, it’s a reflection of 107 years of the family and us,” said Harvey Moscot, chief executive officer of the brand, who works closely with his son Zack, the firm’s chief design officer.

Moscot in Zurich, Switzerland
The Moscot’s store in Zurich, Switzerland.

Now the business has opened its first store in Zurich, Switzerland, a 95-square-meter corner shop that’s larger than their average 80-square-meter stores. The area is a quiet mecca for any luxury brand that wants to catch the 1 percent and sustain a faithful customer base.

“We have a lot of data where we can see where fans are based and we look for cities that are very fashion-forward. It’s a city and country that appreciates the quality of our products and products that last a long time,” said Moscot.

The father-and-son duo travel to cities together to eye up potential store locations — it’s a process that’s slow because they’re a privately held and organically funded business.

“That’s why it might seem like a few years is a lot to set up stores, but that’s the most that we can manage at this point and it feels like a healthy growth rate for us,” said Zack Moscot, who has been working at the company since he graduated from college in 2012.

The ethos of their business is to treat everyone like a family member. The Moscots have a personal relationship with each store manager and sales assistants in the various cities — they take them out for team dinners and even help at the counter when in the stores.

“It’s critical that I meet each and every family member, as we call our staff that works in the shops. They represent me, Zack, my dad and grandfather, so I like to meet every single one of them to make sure they are wearing the Moscot uniform, which is a smile,” said Harvey Moscot, who walks around everywhere with an approachable grin.

Moscot shop
Inside the Moscot shop.

The brand has permanent locations in more than 20 countries with full control over the stores, including Italy, France, Netherlands, South Korea with the exception of Japan, where they’ve partnered with a local distributor.

The stores exclusively stock own-brand glasses and sunglasses with prices starting at 285 pounds, with wholesale available to select opticians around the world.

Their next venture is setting up a Moscot store in San Francisco after the success of their Los Angeles store and fourth flagship relocation to Orchard Street with a new 1,800-square-meter shop in 2021.

“We started on the Lower East Side [of Manhattan], which is where most of the creatives ended up living back in the 1960s and 1970s. It was not a glamorous neighborhood, so it attracted the artists, poets, authors, architects and musicians. It’s a diverse collective in which San Francisco has a similar vibe with free expression, however one wants to portray themselves,” explained Harvey Moscot about the expansion of the company in the U.S.

The company is working on building its infrastructure so it can tackle faraway places where they have pockets of fans, such as in the Middle East, Mexico City, Sweden, Indonesia and Australia.

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