In order to fully appreciate this eyewear collection and the brand behind it that creates its energy, you must know the history behind this.
Erker’s Fine Eyewear is a family-owned business with a rich St. Louis history, dating back five generations to the company's inception in 1879. Founded by A.P. Erker, the company later incorporated when brother August Erker joined the business. The first optical laboratory west of the Mississippi River, Erker's won optical machinery and equipment awards at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, served as the official photographer for the 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair and custom designed the goggles for Charles Lindbergh, used in his historic flight over the Atlantic.
In the years since, the family business
was carried on by the descendants of
August Erker, first by his son Eugene,
who took over circa 1930, followed by
grandson Jack Sr., who took the reins
in the 1960s, then by great-grandson,
Jack Jr, in the early 1990’s, who teamed
up most recently with his two sons
Jack III and Tony in the early 2001.
Early on, Erker's sold everything with a lens, from eye glasses, sunglasses, prescription lenses to cameras, goggles to microscopes. A key element to the company's success has been the ability of its leaders to predict and identify new trends, not just keeping up with the competition, but leading the eyewear industry. Accordingly, throughout the twentieth century, as businesses have become more specialized, Erker's has narrowed its scope as well.
True to form, Jack Erker Jr. recognized the great consumer demand for fine eyewear and has been focusing on this latest trend in the St. Louis market.
"Eyewear" is the marriage of form and
function, taking traditional glasses beyond
practicality and into the realm of fashion
accessories. With over 8000 frames in each
location, Erker's Fine Eyewear carries the
United States largest selection of top
eyewear collections from around the world
and carrying frames in every shape and
color. Erker's Fine Eyewear has long been
known for creating signature images of
such notable stars as Fox’s number one
sports broadcaster Joe Buck, as well as hometown native rapper Nelly. John Goodman, Will Smith, and Bob Costas are just a few other notable celebrities who chose Erker’s Fine Eyewear for their eyewear, not to mention the countless number of athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Mark McGwire, Carlos Beltran, and Floyd Mayweather.
In 2003, Jack Erker Jr. and his two sons, Jack lll and Tony, set up a wholesale division Studio Optyx, a design and manufacturing house that creates and distributes its own visions of eyewear. Since the inception, Studio Optyx has worked with some of the world’s most fashion creative and fashion leading factories. “We have a very high level of criteria that factories must meet in order for us to have a successful relationship. One that is engraved in my DNA since I was born,” says Jack III.
The three European brands that are
distributed solely by Studio Optyx
include: one an Italian collection called
Derapage, a German collection called
Mainhattan, and a Danish collection
called Monoqool. All found on our
website at www.studiooptyx.com.
Incredible collections from three very
talented eyewear design teams.
Most recently, we now bring NW77th to the forefront. In our retail stores, we couldn’t take notice that the younger generations (16-40 year olds), were gravitated to our vast selection of styles, shapes, quality, and service that we had to offer, but would leave without purchasing because of price. With our reputation on the line, we embarked on a mission to find a luxury brand that could offer everything we needed in order for us to be proud to sell in our local market. We kept coming up empty. Then we went to the drawing board…literally!
Our first collection included 9 models with 3 colors each. Our longtime friends and partners in the industry, who also had retail stores, took notice and soon began asking if they could buy NW77th from us so they could sell in their own stores. They quickly began selling lots of it and kept begging us to come out with more. At this point we knew this collection had some legs! We quickly expanded the brand to 60 models and sent them out to our salesforce in the US and Canada where we have had great success.
For years, we have had a vision of creating a brand that caters to the urban chic lifestyle, by bringing together all of the things that make life interesting, fun, fresh, and exciting . Today’s urban dweller leads an exciting and active life beyond uniformed stores and boring shopping malls. They appreciate the social element and cultural connection of a shopping experience as well and gravitate towards retailers who enrich their lives in some way.
Throughout our travels across the globe, we work very hard throughout the day, but love to be wowed by the big city restaurants and lounges in whichever city we are in. This is where our “Think Tank” is! We enjoy that comfortable feeling when we are in those spaces, particularly the ones that have the perfect combination of great service, great sound and interesting décor – pushing the limits, yet very cool. Those attributes help create the overall experience, and we wanted to bring our cool experiences to everyone through the vibe and energy of NW77th while defining modern cultural living.
When it came to looking for the perfect
factory to partner up with to make highest
quality for a lower price with fast delivery
times, this wasn't an easy task. We looked
at 30+ factories before we found this one
in Korea who are honestly the best run
factory we have ever seen all over the
world. It looks like an Apple Iphone store.
Everything has its place and is very clean
and very neat which is abnormal for
factories which are mostly dirty and old
and somewhat disorganized. The Koreans,
as a culture, are very meticulous when it
comes to quality control and they don't
make poor quality. Known for the best
manufactures in the world, we have now
grown to add a new Japanese factory,
which is just as impressive. Due to our
success, in January 2016, we have opened
our new eyewear factory in Saint Louis,
USA and we are in full production mode.
Today, our Japanese and Korean and US factories make some of the nicest product in the world. We make much smaller margins than a lot of manufactures and designers do and we just want the world to have cool product with approachable prices
because everyone loves the feeling of getting compliments on their new eyewear.
The material that the frames are made of are: Surgical Grade Stainless Steel that is folded many times the same way a Japanese Samurai sword is made. This material is stronger and more durable than any metal on earth.
Italian and Japanese Acetate are known to have some of the most durable and high quality products available. All of the acetate colors are designed by us and are exclusive to us. We have to order a large amount of the acetate sheets in order to create our special blends of color.
With the use of 3D printers we are able to design our frames and quickly make adjustments needed before we go into production. All of our frames are handmade, hand polished and finished sometimes taking up to two years from start to finish.
We pay attention to every last detail that goes into each frame down to the screw in the hinge. We pride ourselves in the quality and workmanship that goes into each frame. “If you don’t do it right, don’t do it at all,” says Jack III
From our Perspective
We have worked tirelessly ensuring customer satisfaction and superb quality of all of its products. It is our ongoing goal to provide this same level of services in to our customers as we have done now for five generations, and our dream to do it for many generations to come. We are the oldest optical company in the United States still owned by the descendants of the founding family, and proud to be.