The Future Keeps Us Focused: Tura Stays on Track with Fashion

By Paddy Kamen

What does Tura, one of the oldest and most successful eyewear companies in North America, take for granted? Absolutely nothing!

You might be forgiven for thinking that Tura could rest on its laurels, given an incredible 75 years of innovation. After all, it was Tura’s marketing genius and founder, Monroe Levoy, who recognized way back in 1938 that women would love eyewear if it were viewed as a fashion accessory. Levoy proceeded to make it so, introducing the first bright colours to spectacle frames: Cherry Red, Powder Blue and “Turalite” (silver). Levoy also innovated the first aluminum metal die-cast frame in the industry in 1947 (face-formed, curved to fit any corrective lens, fully adjustable and virtually unbreakable) and initiated the trend to ornamentation on frame fronts and temples.

As fashion frame originators, Tura’s philosophy was espoused thus: “the more becoming eyeglasses are, the more apt women are to follow faithfully the prescription of their use.” Helping women to see that eyewear is one part of their overall ‘look’, Tura created a wardrobe of glasses to match the changing colour schemes of fashion. Who did they turn to for advice on this? None other than Vogue magazine! They even provided eyecare retailers with a scarf draping kit based on a colour wheel to help women select frames that complemented their personal colour profile. Known as ‘Matched to Fashion’, this campaign took place in 1949. An ad that was part of this campaign read: “Because women who wear glasses realize that there is no such thing as inconspicuous glasses, spectacle frames assume their logical place as a fashion accessory.”

Tura, the frame company, was born out of “The House of Levoy,” Monroe Levoy’s dispensary on Madison Avenue inNew York City. The name Tura was derived from the company product, the “Futura Mirror.”

A recent innovation from Tura is the Lotus hinge, first introduced in 1994. The hinge design didn’t require a screw to help keep frames in alignment. Today, in celebration of Tura’s 75th anniversary, the original Lotus hinge has been retooled with the latest technology to create the perfect marriage of form and function. Benefits of this superior hinge include frames that stay adjusted and the reduced likelihood of the hinge breaking or failing. In fact, the re-mastered Tura Lotus collection will be showcased in a luxury display case at the Tura booth at Vision Expo East inNew York City in March 2013.

“Our approach in reinventing this collection was to create frames that were feminine and light, like fine jewelry,” says Jennifer Coppel, vice president of brand management. “Each contour of every style has a reason to be – there is nothing extraneous. The result is an on-trend collection with sleek, modern, easy-to-wear silhouettes.”

While the new styles feature a minimalist and delicate design aesthetic, the Lotus collection still adheres to Tura’s impeccable craftsmanship and unparalleled American style. Designed in theU.S., Lotus frames are made of titanium in a Japanese factory renowned for its high standards and technical expertise. Titanium construction is strong, lightweight, durable, corrosion-resistant and nickel-free. This collection combines the best of modern technology with old-world craftsmanship. Each frame is machined for precision, hand polished and assembled, and rigorously inspected for quality.

This 75th anniversary year also sees new frame styles added to the Mosaic Collection, the bold and brilliant geometric group. With distinctive jewelry-inspired details, this artsy and expressive collection includes both ophthalmic and sunwear styles for women and men in both acetate and metal. The collection is supported by a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes a revamped logo and brand colours. In-store POP emphasizing Tura’s reputation for fashion and quality make it easy for independent eyecare professionals to bring this brand alive for consumers.

A large part of Tura’s ongoing success is due to its commitment to supporting clients. “We never assume that our customer service can’t be improved,” explains Vice President of Marketing Audrey Pavia. “We hold training sessions with our customer service representatives every two weeks to review best practices and to strategize about ways to improve service. We know our customers are busy and don’t have much time to wait or to problem solve. Therefore, at Tura our automated phone and computer systems are completely integrated. When an account calls, our service staff has instant access on their monitors to all the pertinent client information. Rolling frame boards are handy so staff can access all frames without having to leave their desks for more than a few seconds. These simple innovations help them quickly answer all customer questions.”

All Tura staff, both in-office and external sales, participate in the company’s internal intranet site, which provides a continual flow of new brand, product and marketing information. SaysPavia, “This site is a fantastic communication tool and provides very quick access to training information and sales tools. It keeps staff motivated and well-informed.”

Tura employs more than 200 people inNorth Americaand is based in Great Neck,New York. They hold a portfolio of brands that include Bogner, crush, Geoffrey Beene, Lulu Guinness, oio, Ted Baker, TITANflex and Tura.

“The Tura brand continues to be the backbone of the company,” explains Coppel. “It adds the finishing touch with eyewear that is beautiful, that accents your face, complements your clothing and enhances your individual style.”

Ted Baker is also a very strong brand for Tura. Coppel notes: “Ted Baker designs are inspired by Ted’s travels around the world. He tries to bring out the personality of the eyewear through shape and detail, resulting in a contemporary, playful and cosmopolitan collection that appeals to consumers. From subtle details to quirky point of sale pieces, everything that bears the Ted Baker name always offers absolute quality and that little bit more.”

As Tura celebrates its 75th anniversary there is so much to be proud of, and yet there is no sense at all of musty satisfaction with the past. Instead, we see a dynamic company still leading the way with fashion-forward, high-quality eyewear.

Paviasays it all: “Although Tura has such a legacy to lean on, we continue to progress and listen to our accounts, answer their needs and support them in today’s ever-changing market. We keep looking forward. Our heritage makes us proud, but the future keeps us focused.”