1. Tell us about your career background and what lead you to create Pared Sunglasses ?
Ed: I have a bit of a hybrid of experience. I studied Economics and Japanese at University and at one point had my eyes set on a job at the Australian Reserve Bank. Through my Japanese experience I was offered a job as a translator at Australian Fashion week whilst I was at University and then began a new path into Fashion. I worked in a Japanese Fashion company which distributed Tsubi/Ksubi on a gap year which then led to a role in their head office. I met Sam at Tsubi and from there we decided to start Pared together!
Sam: I finished my design degree and completed an internship at an Australian fashion label that also designed sunglasses. I started there and loved it. I have always loved working with accessories and hoped that I could find a way to make a living from this! If i hadn’t designed sunglasses it would have been jewellery and in some ways it does cross over.
2. What are the best / worst parts of your job?
Ed: The Best! Team wins are the best! When we work towards a goal together and create a new company milestone. We also plan outings with our team to a a concert or restaurant when we hit a milestone! That is definitely the most rewards aspect of running your own business.
The worst… Time zones! Living in Australia and running a global business has has its challenges, particularly working with the UK/Europe and the East Coast of the USA. I usually have at least 1-2 calls a week after hours. I have become accustomed to it now and on the flip side I try to take a few hours off during the day to exercise or spend time with my son.
Sam: Hands down best day is new sample day! Seeing my drawings and ideas in a 3D form and coming to life in all of the colours is an exciting day in the office. I look less forward to the more business aspects of the job but as a small business owner this is part & parcel. Sometimes I find it harder to switch hats as I am in my element when I am developing, sourcing and being creative.
3. Being married but working as a creative duo must come with benefits but possibly some challenges, how do you maintain a healthy balance?
Ed: It has taken time but we have managed to find a good balance after 10 years. No work at the table. No work at home (where possible)… We like to go for walks or long drives to talk through stressful situations and we have found that works really well for us.
On the flip side we have travelled the world together 5 times over and we are so grateful to run a business together. Having a young family also means that we are focussed on building a lifestyle that supports our personal and professional goals.
Sam: We try and not talk about work out of work hours. No lap tops at the table to try and separate work and personal life. Now that we have a child (and I am also pregnant again) this is more important than ever to really enjoy family time and try and create balance. There are definitely moments where we need to remind each other to switch off!
4. What is the next benchmark for the brand that you have set you sights on?
Ed: We are in a bit of a rebuilding phase post 2020 and the challenges that COVID placed on the business – specifically in our wholesale business. Australia has bounced back nicely but we still face challenges with our overseas market. Our next benchmark will come from International growth and re establishing the Pared brand in the USA,UK and EU.
We are also focussed on communicating the premium nature of our materials and manufacturing through our e-commerce platform.
Sam: I am really looking into ways we can streamline all parts of our business to be a eco friendly as possible. We already use biodegradable acetates in our collection and eco friendly / recyclable packaging but i think it really needs to be at the forefront of brands to keep our impact as low as possible. It is my 2021 goal to really focus on this and find creative ways to be more sustainable.
5. Who would you most love to see wearing Pared sunglasses and why ?
Ed: We have hit so many celebrity goals with placements both in Australia and the USA. Once you see Beyonce, Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez and Kaia Gerber wearing your product it’s hard to find a new goal in that department. Collaborations are a huge part of our success story so we are looking hard at who our next alignment will be. Watch this space!
Sam: I get most excited when I see a person on the street wearing pared as it means they have chosen to purchase our product over another! The celebrity hits are exciting too but I love seeing everyday people styling the product.
6. What does success look like to you?
Ed: Success today comes with balance. I think when we started the goals were all financial and growth. We truly love what we do now and we hope we can do it forever. We have an exciting 5 years of growth ahead then I think we might reset the goals and redefine what success looks like.
Sam: Getting paid to do what I love and the flexibility to dictate my work/life balance.
7. What has been your proudest moment since you launched?
Ed: The journey of growing a team has been the most rewarding. We have had supporters since the very beginning through some small friends who invested as well as an amazing strategic partner out of Denmark. When people believe in you and your vision that is very inspiring and drives you to work harder and take Pared to new heights.
Sam: I think that after nearly 10 years, still being in business and having an audience that loves our product is a pinch me moment for me. Getting through last year was an achievement for us all and I am really proud that we get to keep doing what we love. When we started at our kitchen bench in Sydney all of these years ago i had no idea hoe it would go!
8. Best advice for your 19 year old selves?
Ed: Be patient. A great quote we always say is “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once”. It is hard because the 19yo version of yourself needs to be driven, a little bit naive and incredibly optimistic, otherwise you wouldn’t make the decision to start your own business. Remain honest always and operate with integrity.
Sam: I wish I could have given my 19 year old self a bit of a pep talk and to believe in myself a little more. Besides that work hard, be kind to everyone and take a chance.
9. What is your most treasured fashion possession?
Ed: Fashion wise I feel Sam has enough items for all of us! I was given a nice watch for my 30th birthday from some friends and that is very sentimental but I usually wear an apple watch for work. I have a very warm moncler puffer jacket that gets some good use in Winter in Melbourne and when I was abroad in the UK a few years ago. And of course a new Pair of Pared!
Sam: All of my vintage items, there is something so special about unearthing a treasure. I have a real love for vintage YSL, especially jewellery.
10. Trend you would like to see disappear forever?
Ed: Mullets/Undercuts (that is a haircut in Australia) – they are back in a big way in Australia
Sam: Low rise jeans are on the way back in. They don’t help anybody. I will be staying well away from these!!
11. If you could invite anyone, what three people would you invite to you fantasy dinner party and why ?
Ed: Jay-Z, Elon Musk, The Queen. But honestly I would probably just invite my closest friends as I am not sure I could keep up with the rest!
Sam: I would love to pick the fashion brains and hear all of the stories of Carine Roitfeld, Karl Lagerfeld and Diana Vreeland who also was supposed to throw an amazing party and be an eccentric host!
12. What makes you laugh no matter what?
Ed: I must be honest that I don’t mind a tick-tock meme these days. I watch some funny ones with my 3 year old son and it makes him laugh hysterically.
Sam: Our son Sebastian makes me laugh all day. He brings a lightness to our world.
13. What goals do you wish to achieve with Paolita?
Ed: We would love the Paolita customer to resonate with the Pared brand and seek out our product. We are so confident in the design and quality of Pared and we love being sold in premium Resort stores. Hopefully we can come and visit and meet the Paolita team at some point in the near future.
Sam: We hope to build a great partnership with Paolita and that your customer will find joy in our designs and product. We put a lot of love into our brand and creations and we hope that you will find the perfect pair!