Cynthia Shapiro founded Cinzia Designs in 2002 after serving as Europa International’s Vice President, and now acts as Cinzia’s President and Creative Director. Cinzia Designs is a leading force in fashionable eyewear for both males and females and also consists of accessory lines for belts, handbags, scarves and more. Shapiro gave LA’s The Place an insider look into her company and its products.
LATP: Where did the idea come about to launch a new, high-end eyewear line?
CS: As a Baby Boomer myself, I started using reading glasses about 10 years ago. Like many women in my generation, I had a really hard time finding something stylish. I wasn’t particularly happy about reaching an age at which I had to wear reading glasses to begin with, and it was made much worse by the fact that everything I found looked like it was for old ladies. At that time I decided to take the decades of experience I already had in the optical industry, and put it towards designing reading glasses that could be more than just a tool to help old ladies read. I wanted to design styles that women would be excited about wearing as a fashionable accessory.
LATP: How does Cinzia Designs distinguish itself from the pack of accessories retailers out there?
CS: First and foremost, we focus on women 40 and up, which is a demographic that demands as much style as any other, but is often ignored by the mainstream.
LATP: Cinzia pulls from Europa International’s extensive knowledge of the optical industry – how has that partnership helped and molded the company?
CS: Without Europa, there would almost certainly be no Cinzia. It was my experience with Europa that introduced me to optical fashion in the first place, and because we started (and are still rooted) in the optical industry, our readers are not just stylish, they also meet the highest standards of optical quality.
LATP: Along with the eyeglasses and sunglasses, Cinzia now also offers accessories for the eyewear. When did that idea come, to expand the line?
CS: While working in the optical industry my husband Alan and I were regularly traveling to Europe and Asia. While on those trips I was always finding new and unique accessories that I would bring home for myself. Cinzia Designs allowed me the chance to incorporate some of those influences into our own line of handbags, scarves, belts and more.
LATP: Now, you not only carry optical wear, but also belts, scarves, bracelets, etc. How have you enjoyed broadening the line and what might be on the horizon for an addition?
CS: Including non-optical products into our line has been a real joy for me, and more importantly, it’s been an opportunity to expand our original vision. To us, readers are just like handbags, belts and bracelets. They are opportunities to make a fashionable choice or statement.
LATP: Tell us about the virtual consultations section of the website (www.cinziadesigns.com). How did that begin and what all does the segment entail?
CS: Lindsey [Reisack] is our in-house fashion consultant. Before joining us she was a professional stylist, and she really has an understanding of what looks good on people. If you send her your picture, she’ll use your facial dimensions to pick the perfect frame for you. Try her. She’s really amazing!
LATP: Your products are a great quality and go right along with high-end fashion lines. How would you describe Cinzia Designs to those unfamiliar?
CS: Again, our focus is always on providing fashionable accessories to women 40 and up. A great deal of women my age still put a lot of emphasis on style, but they don’t necessarily want to sport a lot of big corporate logos. We do offer quality and design on par with the major labels, but our target customer is looking for something a little more subtle and sophisticated.
LATP: Anything we need to know of special note for the upcoming holiday gift-giving season?
CS: Well, obviously a stylish pair of readers is always a great gift for anyone over 40. Like most accessories, very few people have just one pair of reading glasses, so they can always use an extra pair! We will be running a winter promotion sometime during the month of December in observance of the holidays. Check back at our website, www.cinziadesigns.com, during December for full details!
Note: Starting now and running through Jan. 1, anyone who visits cinziadesigns.com and uses the promo code, “LosAngeles” will receive 20 percent off their entire order!
Read about the expansion of different lines to this amazing brand here…