It’s no secret that Boss Women Media is all about supporting Woman-Owned Black businesses throughout the entire year. We recently held our first Building Women for the Future tour where we hosted live pitch competitions in three major cities: Atlanta, D.C. and Dallas. Women from around the country gathered together to support and celebrate so many woman-owned Black businesses as we helped create opportunities for women to learn, lead and leverage tools from brands that are making impact within their communities.
We know that when it comes to creating a business and ensuring it is flourishing as women of color, it’s more critical than ever in today’s world that we support each other. This is because we are faced with particularly unique challenges that impact our ability to build long term wealth and entrepreneurial resources.
In honor of November being National Entrepreneurship Month, we’re highlighting our 5 Building Women for the Future pitch competition winners throughout the entire month. Be sure to support these Woman-Owned Black businesses just in time for the holiday season as we continue to do our part in helping solve the gaps for women around the US to be impacted with resources that work and help businesses grow.
This week’s highlight is the founder of Anwuli Eyewear, eyewear created specifically with Black and African facial features in mind.
Dr. Nwamaka, Founder of Anwuli Eyewear
Can you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am a first generation Nigerian American born and raised in Atlanta, GA. I graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana, a Historically Black College & University (HBCU), with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I went on to attend Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University and completed a rigorous Ocular Disease Residency program through the University of Alabama at OMNI Eye Services in Atlanta, GA. I now practice in the Metro Atlanta area at my practice EyeServe.
After years in practice I frequently heard my patients in my largely Black and African demographic complain of difficulty finding fashionable eyewear that fit their facial features. I also struggled with finding beautiful statement pieces. In 2019 I launched, Anwuli Eyewear, where I create eyewear specifically with Black and African facial features in mind. Anwuli distinctly recognizes that people have unique facial landscapes and believes that consumers, no matter their race or facial features, deserve fashionable eyewear options that make a statement without speaking. I have a passion for working with adolescents and college students to realize their dreams and have dedicated a portion of sales proceeds from Anwuli to mindset workshops and activities designed for young people to develop their mindset and expand their vision and world view.
When and what motivated you to start your business?
After several years in practice I frequently heard my patients in my largely Black and African demographic complain of difficulty finding fashionable statement pieces that really fit their facial features. I also struggled with this and as I watched the fashion industry become more inclusive in sizing I felt that similar principles could be applied to the eyewear industry. In 2019 I founded Anwuli Eyewear. After surveying patients and opticians I identified 3 major pain points when fitting frames and used these to design more size inclusive frames.
When you first started your business, what were the 3 initial thoughts that pushed you forward to decide “yes this is what I want to do?”
- As I started sharing my vision with other eye health professionals I got a lot of positive affirmation that the eyewear industry had a void that needed to be filled.
- I first had the idea in 2018 but after many roadblocks in acquiring information I almost gave up. When I realized I really did not wear glasses in public because nothing on the market matched my style and still fit well I decided I had to keep going.
- So much magic takes place at the moment of commitment . After affirming that I really wanted to move this idea forward , a lot of people came into my life and situations shifted that propelled my idea into an actual business. Through coaching and mentoring I was able to bring my vision to reality .
What is your business mission?
The mission of Anwuli Eyewear is to combine style and functionality in the design of eyewear. We believe that people have unique facial landscapes and that consumers, no matter their race or facial features, deserve fashionable eyewear options that make a statement without speaking. We also believe that dreamers shape the world and we want to help them create a clear vision.
With so many businesses within your industry, what makes your business so different and what problem(s) would you say your business solves?
The eyewear industry is dominated by brands that cater to European facial features. Results of optician surveys with patient observation surveys identified 3 major pain points when fitting Black and African patients. Eye sizes that were too small, temple lengths that were too short and bridges that did not fit. Our frames have wider eye sizes with a 157mm temple length and low bridge principles were applied to the bridge and nose pad structures. We understand that Black people are not monolithic and as our brand continues to grow, we will incorporate and combine our findings to fit more facial structures.
What does your everyday “workday” look like?
I continue to see patients in my practice and I couple this with daily meetings and emails with vendors and contractors, business classes, order fulfillment and customer engagement for Anwuli.
Describe what you felt when you were told you were one of the Building Women for the Future pitch winners?
I was truly shocked and elated. I am well aware that Atlanta has many talented entrepreneurs and I felt blessed to be able to share my journey with such an esteemed group of women.
What does winning the Building Women for the Future pitch competition mean for you and your business?
Winning this competition has provided me with an expansive network of progressive women and with funds that will help with innovation and incorporation of customer feedback to produce new collections. We will also have the opportunity to expand our marketing so that our story is shared more widely.
What’s one thing many people may not know about your business?
Anwuli is an Igbo name that means Joy. We truly want people to be joyful when they experience our brand. We also want people to know that we are dedicated to the expansion of diversity and inclusion in the optical industry.
What advice would you give someone who is currently trying to navigate entrepreneurship?
All the magic happens at the moment of commitment. Commit to making your dreams come true.
What’s one piece of business advice someone has told you that’s stuck with you?
Maintain your integrity in everything you do.
Where can our followers connect with you/your business on social media?
@anwulieyewear on IG, FB, Twitter , website www.anwulieyewear.com
Any additional information you’d like to add?
Anwuli can be purchased directly from our website and at our Retail Optical Partners listed on our website.