Finding the right style is not only about the clothes you wear. You have to have the full package! That’s right, I’m talking about accessories. Accessorizing can totally make or break any look. Patrick Eckstein, one of the founders of William Painter, understands the importance of quality accessories.
“William painter is a high end online accessories brand that focuses on sunglasses and other everyday carry accessories. We guarantee everything for life because we use the highest quality materials and back it up with the best customer service we can provide. We are a new age Patagonia – Northface – Columbia style brand that combines the best products, with great customer service. We want to embody the “more than meets the eye” lifestyle by showing that you do not have to make 6 figures or have a jet to have the most fun.” – Patrick Eckstein
William Painter is an accessory brand that primarily targets the average male between the ages of 25-46. Their accessories are not only quality products, but also very affordable. “Who is the William Painter customer? Typically the average male, 9-5 job, works in the creative, design or marketing fields, enjoys hiking, climbing, surfing, anything adrenaline based. They are usually “weekend warriors”, drive an SUV or Subaru and drink IPAs,” Patrick details.
The William Painter brand started off as a small company. They had so much success with selling their products that the business quickly turned into much more. “We got our start on Kickstarter, didn’t even mean to make a high end product, but had to base on the nature of the frames (they had to be strong enough to open bottles, but light enough to wear). Then we just kept making the best glasses and getting great reviews and responses. And because we are vertically integrated we can do things that many other brands cannot offer,” Patrick explains.
The original idea stemmed from a small need. Patrick and his partner had a great interest in outdoor activities like surfing, hiking and skiing. They never really had a particular interest in fashion or style. However, coming across a ski team brought something to their attention. There was a hole in the accessory market. Why not fill it? “We tried to make a product for a ski team who liked to drink as well. We figured that sunglasses that protected their eyes and opened bottles would be good,” Patrick says.
Taking the risk in starting this business actually became very rewarding for the pair. Even with lack of interest in the fashion industry, they were still able to incorporate things they are passionate about in their products. “The most rewarding part of the business has been just doing it right and having people see that we are really working hard to make something unlike anyone else. We aren’t here for the short term. When people dig a little and see that we aren’t just about the glasses but the larger social experiment it’s really cool,” Patrick says. “Doing what feels right in our gut has always worked out. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If it feels off, it’s because it probably is. Focusing on our core competencies and basic principles (of both style and work) has been really a key for us. We only work with things that have worked in the past; we try not to reinvent the wheel. We look for classics and then we look at how the garbage being put out today can be made better, we combine those two and go from there,” Patrick continues.
Who do you consider the icons in the fashion & design industry?
Less fashion and more core values companies – Patagonia, Zappos, Columbia, Dr Bronners, Northface etc.
What’s the next frontier in building your tribe?
Just growing the family via content and advertising on the right platforms.
If you can/could consider yourself an expert in one area of style/fashion, what would it be?
I would be a product nut, if it has a weakness i will find it. We like to be utilitarian in everything we make. So we look for that in every other product as well. Have less that does more.