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Eyewear company INSPECS on being second-time Queen’s Award winners

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Advice, Assessors, fashion, Innovation, Judges, Lord-Lieutenants

INSPECS designs, manufactures and distributes eyewear to over 80 countries around the world. Operating from its HQ in Bath, UK and overseas offices in Lisbon, Portugal and Florida, the Company was the first eyewear business to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2007, and is proud to have won a second Award in 2020, a milestone year that also saw INSPECS Group complete its IPO on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM and become a plc.

The Queen’s Award recognises INSPECS for its outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

Receiving the Award for the second time acknowledges what has been a combined effort over many years on behalf of the whole INSPECS team to ensure that, in an industry dominated by large multinational companies, the Bath-based business stands out from the crowd. CEO Robin Totterman said: “I would like to thank the entire team for their enthusiasm and tireless commitment over the last 30 years. This Award acknowledges our stellar international growth whilst cementing our vision to provide the highest standard of design and manufacturing of eyewear products to consumers across the globe.”

Doing things differently is in INSPECS’ DNA. Robin Totterman founded the business in 1988 following the deregulation of the optical market in the UK, with a commitment to produce accessible eyewear so that everyone can look and feel great in specs. Over 30 years later, this offering is just as relevant today. It is estimated that 4.5 billion people currently need vision correction and it is without question that every person on the planet needs eye protection from the sun.

INSPECS is truly a local company that has succeeded in going global with over 1,200 employees worldwide. Today, the Company exports to over 80 countries in 5 continents through a network of regional distributor partners, wholesale and retail, including the optical market, luxury boutique and department stores, shop-in-shops, e-commerce, travel retail and mass channels. INSPECS’ vertically-integrated business model – covering design, manufacturing and distribution – makes it one of only a few eyewear companies capable of offering a ‘one-stop shop’ solution to global retail chains, supplying to many of the well-known optical and fashion retail names, from Specsavers to Walmart, Selfridges to ASOS. The Company manufactures for many of the world’s largest optical retail chains, such as the Grand Vision Group (Netherlands), National Vision Inc (USA) and Specsavers (Guernsey).

Exporting is fundamental to the past and future success of the Group and having a consistent track record of sustained export growth in key markets has seen INSPECS grow significantly in both revenue and profits, with 75% of the Group’s revenue coming from international markets in 2019.

The Company’s global presence has also manifested in attracting a greater number of internationally respected eyewear licenses to its portfolio alongside the regular renewal of strategically important global license agreements with existing brands. All of the brands of which INSPECS is a licensee allow export distribution as a key term of all license agreements.

INSPECS benefits from being a vertically integrated business with its own manufacturing sites across Europe and Asia. This enables the Company to preserve a high level of traceability throughout the supply chain and to maintain quality control to internationally recognised best practice industry standards. From the innovation labs at INSPECS’ large-scale production lines to the unique craftsmanship of its luxury artisan eyewear workshop in London, every piece is carefully made, hand checked and packed to ensure a perfect customer experience.

The process from applying for the Queen’s Award to learning that the Company had won, saw voices from across the business come together. The Company is delighted that during a period of global uncertainty, the business can celebrate this positive news along with its customers and suppliers and looks forward to celebrating this latest win as a team, in the very near future.

Visit INSPECS' website here, or watch their video here.

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