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Boss Women: How Tracy Vontelle Green And Nancey Harris Turned Their Eyewear Brand Vontélle Into A Success

Photo courtesy Vontélle

Tracy Vontélle Green and Nancey Harris founded Vontélle eyewear brand with the focus to bring fashionable eyewear to the masses. Today, Vontélle is one of the few thriving Black-owned brands.

The two entrepreneurs gave The New York Trend insight into how they did it.

Q: What have been some of the challenges you faced during the pandemic and how did you overcome them?

Harris: Although the pandemic has wreaked havoc on everything and initially, retail purchases across the nation were down due to the loss of jobs; our business realized two key proponents that assisted us in adapting. We created masks to match our eyewear in the same eye-catching and awe-inspiring patterns. We created the term #fullfacefashion.

Due to virtual meetings, eyewear has become a way to show one’s personality as your face is all that you see. Thus, increasing eyewear sales for something different.  Consequently, Vontélle was launched amid this global health crisis parallel to our own personal challenges and crises.

Tracy was diagnosed with a rare form of diabetes called (LADA Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) also called Type 1.5 which falls between both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It has been a long year of hospital visits/stays and medication changes. 

Green: Nancey’s Brooklyn townhouse caught on fire in September 2020, and her family was immediately displaced. Nonetheless, we quickly found housing (great network of friends)

Still, we were determined to push through, our vision and mission was bigger than both of us and launched our business on October 1s, 2020, as scheduled and here we are persevering today.

Photo courtesy Vontélle

Q: What are your top sellers?

Green and Harris: We have several top sellers. However, we have four that are in popular demand. Rwanda Wayfarers, which is a rich and beautiful textile print that truly enhances any melanin tone and the versatile rectangular silhouette adds a sophisticated, professional look. This was also our first pair of glasses we designed.

Acacia Aviators are a timeless cool in a sophisticated tortoise pattern loved by both men and women. 

The Rectangular Rands, in black, yellow and red, which are unisex, sleek, thin frames that accentuates the brow line for a bold, yet subtle look. The black is for those more conservative customers, our sunny yellow will add a ray of sunshine in any season, and the red pops on every face.

The Red Kente, a stunning and highly recognized pattern worn by royalty in Africa and today the wearing of Kente cloth has become widespread to commemorate special occasions globally. You will turn heads with this beautiful pattern on top, complimented by a splash of red on the bottom and temple.

Photo courtesy Vontélle

Q: What makes Vontélle stand out from the crowd?

Harris and Green: Better Fitting Eyewear! We are making glasses that fit comfortably on your face. Vontélle was founded to satisfy the demand for better-fitting vibrant, luxury eyewear designed and handcrafted to pay homage to the African, Caribbean and Latin diaspora.

You can spot a pair of Vontélle glasses from across the room and we have had customers contact us via social media and/or email us photos of themselves and others wearing our glasses at an event, on the street or on television. The Vontélle sighting is fun! Our rich cultural patterns and textiles are remarkably striking and take center stage while complementing any wardrobe. To that end, we have taken a normal everyday necessity and transformed it into a stylish and comfortable fit for people with diverse features.

Photo courtesy Vontélle

Q: What are some of your business goals for 2022?

Green and Harris: We have a host of goals for 2022, the three that has changed our lives are as follows:

  • Vontélle is proud to announce our three-year licensing partnership with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to create a children’s eyewear line centered around Nickelodeon’s beloved characters. This spring we will launch with SpongeBob, Rugrats and BabyShark eyewear. We are the first (1st) African American women – owned Eyewear company to have such a deal. 
  • Vontélle is in the process of partnering with a major retailer to carry our brand nationwide. Announcement to come soon! 
  • Vontélle is now certified minority women-owned business/vendor by the National Minority Supplier Development Council, thus actively seeking to gain new business partnerships.

Q: What is the most important tip each of you can pass on to a client about picking frames?

Harris and Green: It is important to select frames that flatter and contour the shape of your face and not too snug or tight. This applies to the bridge of your nose, behind your ears or how they lay on your cheeks. On the bridge of the nose, if too tight, you can have permanent line marks across the nose. On your cheeks you can also have an indentation or red marks from pressure. Lastly, it is key to ensure that the tip of the glasses is not applying too much pressure behind your ears. Achieving the right length, will alleviate unnecessary tension and even migraine headaches; especially if you wear your glasses all day. Many people feel that excruciating pain and are unaware that it is due to the glasses bearing down tightly on your pressure points, which are located both on your temples and behind your ears.

Eyewear is meant to reflect your personality and compliment your wardrobe. Vontélle has a vast selection, and you can pick your own adventure from an array of vibrant, pattern enriched designs. Whether looking for a subtle slay or a powerful pop, our glasses are the solution. Our eyewear brightens up any mood and wardrobe. 

Image courtesy Vontélle

You can visit our site to see our beautiful glasses at www.vontelle.com

About the Author

Ann is a freelance writer who started her professional career at the NY Trend more than two decades ago. Ann has since gone on to write for a number of major outlets including: Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire, Pathfinders, Frequent Flier, Playboy, The Source, Girl, Upscale, For Harriet, The Network Journal, AFKInsider, Africa Strictly Business, AFKTravel, among others.