How did you get into the fashion industry?
As a fifth generation MOSCOT, I always wanted to be a part of the family business. I loved product design and creating things that people could use but also find an emotional connection with. Fashion, through many channels, contains attributes of function and emotion. Eyewear is a device that is derived from the basic function of avoiding glare and facilitating sight, but it has also evolved to become a fashion accessory. MOSCOT, my family’s nearly 100-year-old company, infuses decades of expertise in the eyewear business and classic designs to create an end-user product that is not only tangible, but also memorable.
Tell us about MOSCOT. What is your vision for the company and how has it evolved over the family generations of running it?
My great, great grandfather, Hyman Moscot, emigrated from Eastern Europe and began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart on Orchard Street, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the turn of the 20th century. Soon after, Hyman and his son, Sol (2nd generation – my middle name) would open up shop on Rivington Street. MOSCOT has chosen to keep its roots in the Lower East Side since 1915, and has always been the “go-to” neighborhood optical shop. We are known for our customer service and friendly, family-oriented environment. The Lower East Side is a part of who we are; it is a part of our DNA.
What strategic partnerships have you implemented that have attributed to MOSCOT's success?
With our 100-year birthday approaching in January of 2015, we hope that our fans are ready to celebrate with us! We are always engaging our fans through different social media platforms and other interactive initiatives. Because the Moscot family has an innate passion for music, we started a program called MOSCOT Music. Being located in the epicenter of creative spirits and artists, Manhattan’s Lower East Side, we like to give back to the community by offering local artists our gallery space to showcase their work, and perform live from our Orchard Street Shop. In a neighborhood historically renown for live music, The MOSCOT Gallery provides a rare opportunity for fans and musicians to interact before, during and after the show.
Fans worldwide can visit moscot.com/music to watch video and hear audio from “Live From The Shop” performances, and learn more about upcoming shows and events, and past performers.
What is your marketing strategy? Do you utilize social media?
We would never want to be something that we are not. We try to make natural decisions that are organic for the brand. We are proud to tell our story around the world and we are grateful that people want to listen to it. The brand vision is to continue evolving our story in the same way that our predecessors did. We want to continue sharing the heritage of MOSCOT and provide classic, quality eyewear that lasts the test of time. We love interacting with our fans across the globe through social media, we like to share images sent to us by MOSCOT fans worldwide.
Your proudest moments at MOSCOT?
As a designer, I appreciate quality in design; there is something special about keeping and maintaining something for a long period of time. At MOSCOT, some of our proudest moments arise when customers come in for a frame adjustment or to purchase another frame because they are so impressed by the quality of their MOSCOT frame and how long it lasts. We love to see our customers coming back for more, while embracing and still continuing to wear their existing frame. It’s this kind of loyalty to the MOSCOT brand and the product that gives us a unique feeling of pride.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
We’re seeing over time that eyewear is truly leaving the strict realm of a “medical device” and entering the fashion world as an everyday accessory. This is fantastic, as it allows people to change their look, their perception, and their wardrobe approach as a whole. It’s an incredible tool in the fashion world and an awesome way to transform your appearance. As something worn on your face, it’s the first thing people see, so it is important to project the aesthetic you want. Through first hand interaction in our shops, we are able to understand how eyewear impacts one’s outfit and everyday look. This pushes us to explore color, lens treatments and other new materials in many different combinations.
“Make lists!” Moscot men are a bit intense at times and so we like to make lists to discuss our thoughts and agendas. We’ll end a thought or conversation by saying, “make lists!” You know to come prepared to your next family meeting with a thorough list!
Your advice to an aspiring fashion entrepreneur?
Growing up in a retail environment has provided me with valuable customer insight. It’s important to not design in a vacuum and to interact with the consumer/wearer. Interaction with the consumer is really the only way to get a feel for what is working out there. One of my favorite things to do is to step away from my desk and go out onto the “floor” to sell glasses and get an understanding of how the product is perceived, fits, and evaluated through the try-on and purchasing process.
Favorite travel destination?
I like to think I’m fairly good at finding “my beach” wherever I go.
Favorite designers to wear with MOSCOT glasses?
I think there are some awesome brands that have attributes I admire. For example, I have a pair of Alden boots that I will wear forever and never throw out. I even find that they get more comfortable as time goes on and better looking as they absorb the dirt of the NYC sidewalk. I think classic, heritage wearables compliment the MOSCOT brand well.
What literature is on your bed stand?
“Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect” by Bob Rotella. I love golf. Golf is a sport that I feel provides a better understanding of patience and mental strength. It is a game that cannot be won and so through your own experiences on the course you find parallels to everyday life and ways to overcome situations that are not necessarily taught in a book. Understanding that everything you do is simply a work in progress is what I find allows you to grow and learn naturally.
Role model - business and personal?
My father, Dr. Harvey Moscot – fourth generation of the MOSCOT house. He teaches me how to approach and handle all types of business scenarios while maintaining an extremely open and honest relationship. He instills principles upon me that his father, Joel Moscot, taught him – some of which I like to think are Moscot family secrets..
What's next for MOSCOT?
We are gearing up to celebrate our 100-year anniversary in January 2015, and we have some really fun plans in the works. Stay tuned!