How often do you get your eyes tested? Compare that with how often you do a little yoga, visit the dentist or even just clean your teeth… Why aren’t we looking after our eyes as much as our well-being, teeth and even our hair?
We’ve featured many a mother-daughter design team, but today it’s all about a dad and daughter duo, changing the perspective on eyewear, eye health and making it all look so darn good doing so. Keep reading for our chat with Zak. Eyewear Founders, Kyly and Myles.
HI KYLY, HI MYLES, TELL US ABOUT ZAK. AND HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT?
Zak. came about during a father/daughter catch-up dinner! My dad is an optometrist (in practice for over 35 years) and my background is in the start-up world. Over dinner, we started talking about frustrations within the optical industry, and ultimately brainstormed what is now Zak. – a 21st century approach to your eyes.
The eyewear industry is fragmented. The antiquated optometric model doesn’t seamlessly marry medical, retail, and the modern consumer. Traditionally, a person typically gets an exam at one place, glasses from another, contact lenses from yet a third provider, and their more “unique” frames somewhere else. On top of that, pricing is all over the map. We are interfacing with multiple entities to take care of one very import thing – our eyes.
We are streamlining the process to provide a seamless one-stop shop for your eyes. At Zak., we believe in eye care done better from a systematic, aesthetic, and educational approach. Our ethos, design, culture, products and services are created and presented to encourage all people to consider their eyes. Your eyes are the window to your soul, and we’re eager to help everyone – not just those with prescription needs – get a little more soulful.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND’S NAME?
My dad and business partner, Dr. Myles Joseph Zakheim was nicknamed Zak by his friends growing up in Brooklyn. After I got married, I wanted to keep a piece of my maiden name and Kyly Zak Rabin was born!
As a family business, Zak. was instinctively the first name that came to mind, embodying legacy, community and thoughtfulness. Fittingly, our in-house collection, affectionately named Zak. Frames, follows suit. Our styles are based on 35 years of my dad’s sales data, and streamline a typically overwhelming shopping experience by offering just what you need (like family).
WHY AND HOW SHOULD WE BE LOOKING AFTER OUR EYES?
I often ask the question – If you track your daily steps, get acupuncture or practice yoga, why wouldn’t you pay more attention to something as vital as your eyes?
For many, when it comes to our personal health considerations, we typically value an annual physical and dental check. The eye exam tends to be deprioritized unless vision is significantly compromised. People get their eyes examined if they can’t see, but there are so many other reasons to invest in eye health – from headaches and eye strain, to glare, light sensitivity and even irregular sleep patterns.
Proper nutrition, hydration, appropriate amount of sleep and moderated screen time (yes, you) are all effective in enhancing eye health. An annual eye exam is essential in evaluating all contributing factors and providing appropriate treatment!
An annual eye exam can often detect systemic diseases, like diabetes, high blood pressure or even neurological/auto-immune conditions that do not necessarily present symptoms. A comprehensive exam can also diagnose the presence of eye disease such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration long before a patient complains about symptoms. The earlier the detection, the easier the eye disease is to treat and control.
Whether you’re coming in for new frames, contacts, a custom eye strap or a cup of our freshly made carrot juice, we ensure your eyes receive the care they deserve.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
I don’t! I drink lots and lots of tea, rotating hojicha, rooibois, and earl gray (with steamed almond milk!). The ritual of a morning tea is an important, reflective (and sometimes caffeinated) start to my day.
WE’VE JUST WALKED INTO YOUR BEAUTIFUL STORE IN FAIRFAX… TALK US THROUGH THE PROCESS OF FINDING OUR DREAM PAIR OF GLASSES?
Shopping for glasses is typically a complicated and overwhelming process – too many styles resulting in indecision, the frame you like doesn’t come in the color you want, and everything starts to look the same as there are endless riffs on the same shapes (ugh).
Zak. frames are designed to streamline the shopping experience so frame selection is finally easy to navigate. We offer 6 unisex centralized frame shapes: The Really Round, The Round, The Square, The Rectangle, The Cat, and The Pilot. Each shape is available in two weights (thin or thick), three colors (black, tortoise + translucent) and as optical or sunglass.
The goal is to combat the oversaturated selection process making it more palatable and consistent while providing styles that function like your favorite white t-shirt and everyday uniform. And most importantly, high quality at an accessible price point (starting at $125 including frame + prescription).
Optical stores typically carry affordable or luxury products, catering to only one type of shopping experience. Zak. offers both. We carry a curated selection of extremely unique lines to allow for discovery and to showcase the true art and craftsmanship possible in eyewear.
Each of our lines has a uniqueness that makes the product especially interesting – for example: Res/Rei manufactures its own material so their frame colors and patterns are exclusive to them. Yuichi Toyama’s collection of mixed materials is inspired by double Dutch jump rope. Saint Rita Parlor is an homage to the designer’s grandmother, Rita – her face embossed on the cases and favorite drink (whiskey and water) a frame color in the collection. These makers and these stories enhance the experience, ensuring a spectrum of eyewear options and price points are represented without overwhelming you!
Best of all, you can enjoy daily prepared carrot juice (made in house + good for your eyes!) while you shop.
TELL US ABOUT WORKING AS A FATHER X DAUGHTER DESIGN/BUSINESS TEAM… HOW DO YOUR ROLES VARY?
My dad is an expert in the field. He has been in practice for over 35 years with three locations. Although he doesn’t see patients at Zak., he is the optical brains behind the operation. His insight, experience, and medical know-how are essential as we aim to provide the highest degree of comprehensive care and educate consumers about the importance of eye health. His long standing career has provided us with rich data that serves as the blueprint for the products we develop like our in-house collection of frames to the lenses we stock in our on-site lab to ensure same day fabrication all the way to patient care, insurance practices, medical equipment/technology, contact lenses and so much more.
His optical expertise and business experience coupled with my “millennial” perspective, generational inclinations (digital), and aesthetic compliment the goal of streamlining and elevating the eye care experience.
Working together has its challenges. We are both very specific (must be genetic) and sometimes there are generational hang-ups, but for the most part, we’re learning a ton from each other and enjoying the journey!
FAVOURITE ZAK. DESIGN?
It changes all the time! I wear prescription glasses and/or sunglasses every day, mixing up shapes and styles concurrently with my wardrobe, state of mind and environment. Currently, I’m really digging The Square, Thin, which is my Husband’s favorite style, so we’re twins, which I think is hilarious.
WHAT’S NEXT – BUSINESS OR PERSONAL – HEADING INTO SUMMER?
I spend most days in the store as I’m extremely eager to connect with our customers and iterate on our process and product to the best of our ability. This is our first summer in the store, so I’m thrilled to see how Zak. impacts the “sunglass season” (although eye care is a year round necessity!). I’m looking forward to launching some updated Zak. styles and art installations in the space at the end of the summer.
Personally? It’s wedding season! I’m officiating one (eek) and get to watch my best friend tie the knot at the end of July in upstate New York. I need to get to work on writing some speeches…
GO TO: zakeyes.com
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