Sticks & Sparrow: Taking a sustainable view on sunglasses

Bec Bennett, the founder of Sticks & Sparrow, once vowed never to design sunglasses for crowded adult market. Then an unexpected discovery changed her mind.

As a child, Bec was repeatedly told by her family that she had an entrepreneurial spirit. She was a born creator who would set up stalls to sell her creations or take them to local markets to gauge people’s interest.

Her love for product design eventually led to her founding and launching EYETRIBE in 2008 with two kids’ eyewear brands under the label.

Soon after, Bec began noticing that among the hundreds of adult eyewear brands in the market, few were concerned with using sustainable material in their product design. That observation would become the point of difference for her next eyewear brand – this time in the adult market.

Bec began creating prototypes for friends and family. By the end of 2013, her collection had matured and she officially launched Sticks & Sparrow.

“We use bamboo, wood, and cork which are all recycled and sustainable,” she explains. “We incorporate these materials into the design of the sunglasses.”

The bamboo used to make the eyewear frames is sourced from one of the largest reservoirs in China. It’s lightweight but incredibly strong.

Sticks & Sparrow also has a strong Australian flavour. Bec incorporates Australian native plants, including the Grevillea, into the acetate material of selected designs. Acetate is a hypoallergenic plant-based plastic known for its strength and lightness.

Since its launch six years ago, Bec has grown the brand’s reach mainly through trade and consumer shows, and social media.

“We’ve started doing more consumer events, where we go to existing marketplaces and sell our product direct to customers. It’s great to have that interaction. As for social media, Instagram is a fantastic medium to showcase the brand identity and style.”

Letting customers shop at home

The other element that contributes to the company’s success is Sticks & Sparrow’s comparatively new Shop at Home service. They send multiple sunglasses to customers who have five obligation-free days to trial them. After that period they can send them back or keep those they like.

“This has definitely helped our eCommerce sales. Buying sunglasses is such a personal decision. They’re a reflection of your identity and very visible. We understand that and therefore, Shop at Home takes the pressure off our customers and gives them more of a selection.”

To make the Shop at Home service possible, Bec enlisted the help of Australia Post, and uses a MyPost Business account to keep track of all the deliveries. She also uses her account to create shipping labels, book parcel pickups1 and access 24/7 support2.

“Australia Post’s service has really enabled us to get this program up and running. It’s very cost effective and also allows us to easily get our products into our customers’ homes,” Bec says.

The partnership with Australia Post means Sticks & Sparrow can offer potential buyers the same experience they would have in a physical store without having to worry about the overhead costs.

Those savings, along with the general popularity of her products, means Bec is now able to concentrate on expanding the Sticks & Sparrow range. She’s now looking towards more audacious goals in the near future.

“We’re definitely looking at export opportunities within the next 12 months. At the moment we're researching like-minded markets that have an interest in eco-friendly products and sustainability.”

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