Etnia Barcelona accelerates the future with new projects.

CEO David Pellicer explains to WMIDO the process put in place by the company to deal with the Covid-19 emergency. The pandemic has pushed Etnia Barcelona to give an extra boost to its programs.

Could you describe your “Phase 2”?

Well, we have had two cases of Covid-19 in Etnia, both people have fortunately recovered. But we all know someone who has died or suffered. As a result, what has affected us most is seeing people around us suffer. We have had days when we’ve felt sad, angry or scared. But we are also discovering a society that is willing to come together in the face of adversity and people who are helping each other more than ever. Now it’s time for companies to do the same. 

As for health-related measures, we are doing everything necessary, ensuring that our facilities and collections are constantly disinfected. Our entire sales network is using sanitary materials. We all know that the customer needs the greatest sense of safety in order to feel comfortable making purchases – that’s why the hygiene, protection and disinfection of materials is key.

It must be very strict. As for our working processes, we have maximized our digital tools. Since day zero, we have been able to get 90% of our team working remotely thanks to Teams, our smartworking software. Our intranet and extranet for optical stores have given us the support we need in these extraordinary times. Our IT team has worked on accelerated digitization and we can’t thank these colleagues enough.

Advanced digital tools have allowed us to give our shoppers a quality customer experience, albeit from a distance. We’ve implemented the virtual fitting room on the extranet to optimize the experience. We have activated chat, which our Customer Service team uses to provide a real-time service. We are generating new presentation formats for our products in order to exponentially increase digital communication with our customers.

We know that it will never replace the physical shopping experience but we are also aware that we need to offer the best possible tools to safely bring our service closer to customers in these exceptional circumstances.

Now we are in the 3rd phase: can you tell us how you are dealing with it? 

We have three interdepartmental projects across the company. And the virus has accelerated them.

The first is protecting the optical store channel. We have grown as a brand because of our work alongside optical stores. 

The second is the Responsibility project, encompassing the Foundation and Sustainability, which internally we call “Fuck Plastic”. Our frames are made of natural acetate and our lenses are made of mineral glass. We are removing all plastic from our packaging and replacing it with sustainable materials. We are also auditing all our processes to detect everything that we can and should improve. But the best contribution we can make is to produce a long-lasting product and to continue building a brand that is committed to the environment.

Our latest Warriors 2020 campaign is already a step in that direction. With the impact of the current circumstances, it has gained even more meaning and transcendence. We can see what’s happening with our own eyes and want to contribute however we can. 

Four years ago, we created the Etnia Barcelona Foundation in response to this concern. We’ve been playing our part non-stop ever since. We traveled to Senegal to set up a non-profit optical store and have been working with other organizations and volunteers to get prescription glasses to children in disadvantaged areas. The Etnia team has demonstrated a huge capacity to work, particularly with charitable causes. Extending the Foundation to our customers is something we are particularly proud of.

The third is the project to locate our Barcelona Production plant within our Headquarters, over six floors and covering over 6,000 m2. Manufacturing will be located in the same place as the entire design and industrialization team, along with the other company departments. This will enable faster innovation and streamline the customized capsules and collections for our optical store customers.

Did you develop any special project to help your opticians? 

As I said following the other question, our first priority is to protect the optical store channel, offering financing plans for customers. We are focusing on creating tools to protect that channel. That’s why we created Drive to Store, which diverts sales from our websites and Flagship store to the optical store point-of-sale, thereby encouraging traffic and sales at our trade customers’ outlets. Now, starting in September, our eyewear will contain a unique code that increases the traceability of the glasses and allows for a greater control of distribution to authorized points.

This will also allow for the warranty to be activated at the optical store at the time of sale. We see customers as partners—that’s why we support cooperation and defend their territory. We are very proud to activate initiatives like the Partnership Project.

In May, we launched IBIZA Vol.2, a unique collection for the optical sector, inspired by the first fluorescent model created by Etnia Barcelona (in 2003). It will transport us to that colorful and happy island spirit. It’s that feeling of freedom and summer that we long for today, more than ever.

And our Foundation is working on a very interesting project to help Opticians and to provide them with 150,000 pairs of glasses completely free of charge through its international charitable project, “Opticians With You”, aimed at helping families negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Foundation, with the collaboration of opticians from around the world, will send 150,000 frames from the brand, completely free of charge, to vulnerable individuals and families who need glasses and who do not have access to them as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The opticians play a fundamental role in identifying individuals and families in their communities who are going through hard times financially. They become the Foundation’s eyes to detect and offer this help to anyone who needs it.

What can you tell us about future projects? 

The 2021 collection is the best collection we’ve ever created. Seriously. Between now and January, we are going to introduce five new worlds and three capsules that showcase our DNA. Color, Art and Innovation are the mood music for our upcoming creations. And other, more amazing things will come but you have to stay tuned!

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