Contrary to popular belief, there is no “one size fits all.” Females experienced similar issues: glasses sliding down their noses or simply struggling to find a good fit. There was room in the market for a more tailored lens frame. In fact, many countries offer standard sizes; the U.S., for example, models its frames using European fit, meaning they only truly fit “one kind of face.”
Born and raised on O‘ahu, Johnson’s entrepreneurial spirit and personal experience led her to seek something more inclusive. “Being an Asian, mixed-race female founder, I know the feeling of using products not designed for me. Women deserved better eyewear. They deserved frames designed to fit and made for each unique, valued woman.”
Mohala Eyewear offers various nose bridges, widths and adjustable sun- glasses to make that mythical perfect fit a reality. In addition to fitting differ- ent face shapes, all lenses are UV 400 and polarized.
“We design inclusive eyewear, and every pair sold sends a girl to school,” Johnson shares, summing up her successful local startup. “I never wanted my business to be just for profit.”
After watching Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Johnson felt called to act and approached Room to Read to form a partnership: an organization that has provided 2 million women access to education.
Through Room to Read, Mohala Eyewear has donated over 95 years of schooling to girls in countries across Africa and Asia. “I’m probably most proud of that,” Johnson shares.
After just launching in Nordstrom Hawai‘i last fall, Johnson also is proud to share that Mohala Eyewear has become “the No. 2 best-selling eyewear brand in Nordstrom Hawai‘i, which I’m so grateful for … We’re only in Nordstrom Hawai‘i and Nordstrom.com, but based on that, we’ve reached No. 32 out of their over 130 eyewear brands for nationwide sales.”
Mohala Eyewear’s phenomenon impressed Nordstrom’s head eyewear buyer, who questioned if this success was a Hawai‘i anomaly. But filling a market niche and real need is perhaps the root of Mohala’s overall success. Johnson is confident that her next step is expanding nation- wide, and then perhaps internationally.
“I really believe that the future of eyewear is that you’re going to be asked your eyewear size, like you’re asked your shirt or shoe size,” Johnson shares. “Our goal is increased comfort, because you should forget that you’re wearing them.”
Mohala Eyewear’s inclusive brand has caught the eyes of InStyle, PopSugar, Shape, and Forbes, among other publications. Mohala Eyewear will also be launching prescription lenses in June and July. With the new RX frames launching this summer, customers will be able to go online and enter their prescription and have lenses delivered straight to their homes.
There is a huge, positive fashion trend towards inclusivity, which erupt- ed during the pandemic: Nike’s plus size, Fenty Beauty, Christian Louboutin heels for all skin tones, just to name a few. Eyewear was left out. “That’s why we’re No. 2. I don’t think we would have achieved that without this nose bridge,” shares Johnson, “It’s solving this problem for women needing a better fit … My job now is to prove that this inclusive design is not just a Hawai‘i thing.”