They were looking for an environmentally friendly material to create original, quality sunglasses. They created this material themselves, in collaboration with research laboratories, and their frames are made in France from recycled shells, as Sandrine explains:
"For example there we have clams from an oyster hut in Locmariaquer. Once the shells have been collected, we are going to clean them, and then they are going to be crushed, ground and micronised, reduced to a very fine powder, to agglomerate it to our two different materials, because we have two processes: by injection, in moulds, or in the form of plates to make cut-out, handmade glasses..."
Scallops, oyster shells, cockles, clamshells can be used. But the two founders of the "Friendly Frenchy" brand have gone even further: this year they are launching a model of glasses made from mussel shells and lobster shells:
"We recovered lobster from the port of Lorient and carcasses: today this is waste that is often buried and not used, and we wanted to give this waste a second life. We mainly use pincers: as for shells, we grind them, micronise them and insert them in our materials to make glasses. We worked on the technical characteristics expected from a pair of glasses, in terms of flexibility, resistance, we must be on hypoallergenic materials..."
The "Friendly Frenchy" brand offers a range of 32 different pairs, partly manufactured in Auray and partly in the Ain. The glasses are French, as are the packaging and the cleaning wipe. Sunglasses sold from 80 euros (for moulded models) to 250 euros for handmade models:
"We wanted to be an accessible brand. We were quickly confronted with the realities: manufacturing in France, investing in research, taking a virtuous approach to reduce our impact... It's work, time, and it's not necessarily the most economical now, on designer glasses, handmade, with our positioning at 250 euros, we are clearly within the market prices... We wanted to make the fairest price by having an eco-designed product made in France...".
Laurent Pezé and Sandrine Guyot @YannLaunay
The company is only three years old: 3 years is often a turning point in the life of a company... and Friendly Frenchy seems well on its way to last:
"We don't know if it's the effect of the confinement or the effect of the 3 years, in any case it pleases and we can feel a real craze from the public as well as opticians for the products made in France and biosourced... It works: we have a few models out of stock... We remain a young and small structure, but it's the passion that drives us, and we have an inspiration that will keep us busy for a few more years to develop the next models..."
Sandrine and Laurent received an "Oscar du Morbihan", which distinguishes innovative companies. Their glasses are available on the Friendly Frenchy online shop at www.friendlyfrenchy.fr