MY EYEWEAR STORY – CLAIRE GOLDSMITH
Over the coming months we will be running a series of stories looking at influential people and their relationship with eyewear. We kick off this series with our very own Claire Goldsmith, 4th generation Goldsmith and owner of the brand today.
Q: You must have such a deep-rooted affiliation with eyewear, did you always know you’d take over the business?
CG: No, not at first! During my late teens the brand was having a hiatus. It was a time when licensing had come into play, suddenly ‘designer eyewear’ was everywhere and little independent brands like Oliver Goldsmith bared the brunt of this impact. I’d always loved the brand though and have many vivid memories of my Grandfather and Father fixing, polishing, adjusting and sorting piles of sunglasses and spectacles. One of my favourite memories is of my mum coming home from one of the Christmas parties at Buckingham Palace that they had been invited to as suppliers to the Royal Family. She was dancing around her bedroom in a broken pair of sunglasses and when I asked my father what an earth she was doing he responded that she was dancing around in Princess Diana‘s broken sunglasses! The Princess had handed them to my father asking him if he could possibly fix them before their next meeting!!
After school, I went to university to study Branding and Marketing and it’s there that my love for heritage brands grew. I initially worked in marketing for a big blue-chip company, but the family story was always niggling in the back of my mind. I saw this incredible brand sitting in a dusty old box and knew that I had to bring it back to life.
Q: Which is your favourite Oliver Goldsmith frame?
CG: It is a pair of sunglasses called Rimini. They are vintage and we only have a couple of pairs in our archive, one of which I wore on my wedding day. The rim of the frames are covered in beautiful crystals that were ‘apparently’ hand-set by a group of nuns who lived in the hills of Italy. This is the story my grand-father told me, I’ll never know if it’s true or not!
Q: Do you have any eyewear regrets?
CG: Oh for sure – I think everyone does to a certain extent! Those tiny oval shapes of the 90’s, I had bad hair and seriously bad eyewear – but they weren’t Oliver Goldsmith! If only I’d stuck to brand and I’d have been ok. It’s of my favourite things about the brand, that these incredible styles are as stylish today as they were 40 years ago.
Q: When did you start wearing glasses?
CG: I only started wearing glasses about 4 years ago. It’s been beneficial as it obviously gives me more insight into my customer and the trials and tribulations of wearing and looking after your glasses!
Q: If you weren’t wearing Goldsmith, which brand would you wear?
CG: I honestly don’t know how I’d choose, there are so many incredible brands. I definitely know which brands I wouldn’t buy, but there’s no need to name names. Like most things I purchase now, I would go independent – I like knowing I’m buying something unique, that isn’t mass-produced and that I am supporting their product and it’s people through my purchase.