Taylor Morris - the British name in eyewear
Late nights in nightclubs led to sunglass success for Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris.January 17, 2016
Common sense says that lack of sleep is bad for creativity, but for entrepreneurs Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris bleary eyes were the trigger for their hugely successful sunglass brand.
The British best pals spoke to EDGAR at the launch of Taylor Morris sunglasses at Harvey Nichols in Dubai.
Hugo: We used to work a lot of late nights at Chinawhite nightclub in London. We’d work until 5am and come into the office at noon. Our eyes would be red so we wore sunglasses and we became obsessed with them.
How did you begin the brand?
H: I still have the napkin from a bar in Ibiza with our idea written on it! Our original business plan was appalling. We knew nothing. A lot of the time we felt abject panic and terror if I'm being honest. I got a rash on my neck from the stress.
Charlie: We went to a big eyewear trade show in Milan called Mido and we literally walked up to strangers and talked to them. We made a lot of mistakes and we got ripped off at the beginning.
What was your next step?
H: We started the business in 2013 with 11 frames. We were delivery boys, we did the photocopying, the marketing, and the designing. Five days before we launched we sent the head buyer of Harvey Nichols a link to our website which had a Smiths song playing on it. Turns out she loved the Smiths and it was her favourite song so she came to the launch.
And the name?
C: We wanted it to sound British. So we thought Taylor Morris, our last names, sounded quite good – a bit like a law firm.
What do you each bring to the brand?
H: I do the overall aesthetic and Charlie is Mr Details. For example our hinges are precision cut by a company in Germany called OBE.
C: I love the nitty gritty. I'm talking to the designer about moving something one millimetre to the left and I can hear Hugo in the background laughing at me.
You’ve enjoyed some celebrity endorsements, haven’t you?
C: Yes, we have a good contact base in London so we used that to get our glasses out there on famous faces like David Gandy, Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse. But Rita Ora was when it all kicked off. She wore a pair of our Vredefort glasses and made the front page of a newspaper in the UK. We had to reorder them because they were selling out. That photo made our business.
What is your style philosophy with these sunglasses?
H: We take classic shapes and reinvent them with an eccentric twist.
C: We both like a traditional Savile Row suit for instance, but we’d wear it with a little twist such as a flamboyant handkerchief or colourful socks.
Do you have any collaborations planned?
H: Yes, with Morgan motor cars. It’s such a classic British heritage brand, so we’re really excited.
C: We visited the factory a few weeks ago and it was incredible. Every bit of the car is handmade using only leather, wood and aluminium. These guys have been there for years and their fathers were there before them. We're taking inspiration from the cars to design some glasses.
Do you ever get fed up of working with sunglasses every day?
C: Oh yeah. We do love our jobs, but sometimes, after a four-hour meeting, we'll look at each other and say, ‘We hate sunglasses!’.