The Case Study: How Eyewear Brand Bôhten Connected With Retailer Shopbop on The Folklore
Founded by 2012 by Nana Boateng Osei and Nana Kwadwo Osei, Bôhten is an eyewear company that is invested in creating the perfect fit for Black and diverse faces. Built on optical safety, sustainable design and social responsibility, the brand offers a range of eyewear that protect from harmful rays and pollution while remaining fashion-forward and stylish.
The brand’s collection of African-inspired eyewear is engineered to optimize the viewing experience while adding an effortless luxury to the gaze, resulting in handcrafted and hand-assembled frames with a distinct look and feel.
Bôhten operates locally across Africa, supporting environmental sustainability, eye care, and youth employment by partnering with local communities on eyewear education and accessibility, and providing employment opportunities to combat some of the highest youth unemployment levels in the world.
The brand also incorporates sustainable practices in its operations and products, and frequently runs tree-planting programs in Ghana and Kenya to help turn the tide against rising deforestation, using its eyewear to connect people to nature, each other and themselves.
Like many fashion brands, Bôhten started out as a direct-to-consumer company, running its own e-commerce retail store to sell its range of sunglasses and optical frames. Over the past year, the brand made the decision to expand beyond D2C into wholesale retail, which is now the company’s overall strategy.
While it has gained a wholesale client base composed of small specialist eyewear stores and some larger retailers, Bôhten is after a more efficient way to connect with new retailers without having to seek them out on its own.
Bôhten signed up to The Folklore Connect’s wholesale platform to increase its exposure and level of brand awareness to a wide range of retailers. The brand also participated in The Folklore Connect x RAISEfashion NYFW Showroom, where the brand representative was able to meet and network with buyers and boutique owners, and create interest from stores. Bôhten’s retail account manager is also able to work directly with a dedicated account manager to followup on solid leads and streamline the sales aspect of the process.
After discovering the brand via The Folklore Connect, Shopbop buyers reached out to an account manager to show their interest in stocking Bôhten’s eyewear in the online store. This was followed by months of virtual meetings between Bôhten’s retail account manager and Shopbop buyers to determine the details of the order, from the number of units to any requests for customized products. The timeline also factored in a schedule for fit tests before the eyeglasses are finished as well as the production period for Bôhten’s artisans to handcraft the pieces that are not readily available.
In February, Bôhten successfully launched on Shopbop.com with a selection of its best-selling sunglasses and optical frames, such as the Albana Olive, Barklae III Chalbi Sun, and Manyara styles. The brand also created a customized version of its Jade frames with brown gradient lenses, which are exclusively available on Shopbop.