Member Spotlight: Framed Ewe
Integral to The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale’s mission is telling the stories behind the small businesses Scouted in each Volume. The story begins in print and continues online, after all. As you peruse Volume 2, we are thrilled to continue our story-telling mission with Member Spotlights…
Photo by Scott Foust Photography
Christy Kimball, the owner of the independent eyewear boutique Framed Ewe, is a Phoenix-born world traveler with an impeccable eye for style. Over the past ten years, her store has gained quite a reputation – both locally and across the West Coast – for its impressive list of hand-crafted, independently owned eyewear. Learn more about Christy in our Member Spotlight interview below.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: What inspired you to take the entrepreneurial leap and start Framed Ewe?
Christy Kimball: I am an avid traveler, and in my early travels throughout Europe I encountered the coolest vintage eyeglasses stores in cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona. These shops were handcrafting eyeglass frames on-site, which I found so inspiring. I knew that, one day, I wanted to bring the model to Phoenix.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: What did the early years of Framed Ewe look like?
Christy Kimball: Most are really surprised to learn that, when we first started, we were essentially operating out of a closet. I mean the space was tiny. It was a 60-square-foot room in The Union at the Biltmore Fashion Park Mall. From there, we’ve just grown. After three years in the tiny space, we opened at our big shop on Seventh Street, and we’ve also grown with two locations in LA.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: To what do you attribute that growth?
Christy Kimball: What makes us unique is that we only carry independent eyewear brands. So the glasses you find in our store are hand-crafted by artisans from around the world. What I love to remind my customers is that when you shop at Framed Ewe you’re not only supporting our local store, you are also supporting small businesses from around the world. We source eyeglasses from artisans and creators who are doing what they love to do and expressing their own personal style and perspective.
Photo courtesy of Framed Ewe.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: What are some of the most sought-after eyewear brands available in your store?
Christy Kimball: I am thrilled to offer Jacques Marie Mage. Framed Ewe is the only place in Arizona where you can find this very special line. The designer is French, but the glasses are hand-crafted in Japan. Each style is a limited run, never repeated, so you’ll be one of the handful of people in the world with a pair. My other in-store favorite is Vada, another Japanese brand. This is a more feminine line beloved for its fun bright colors and interesting shapes.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: You seem to favor Japanese eyewear, is this intentional?
Christy Kimball: I like to say, you buy your champagne from France, your olive oil from Italy and your eyewear from Japan. Japan has a reputation for making the best eyeglasses in the world. Of course, other countries also are making gorgeous hand-crafted eyewear, but Japan is known for having some of the leading artisans in the trade.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Clearly, Framed Ewe offers exceptional expertise, in addition to truly fabulous eyewear. What else can someone in the market for new optical or sunglass frames expect from the Framed Ewe?
Christy Kimball: We offer a huge variety of shapes, styles, and sizes, so be prepared for many unique options. We take drop-ins, but we also offer appointments for customers who would like to be paired with the same person from the start to finish and have a truly personalized experience.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Can you walk us through what an in-store appointment looks like?
Christy Kimball: First, we work with our customers to identify fit based on their preferences and style. Next, we use our latest and greatest tech to identify the correct lenses and protective applications. This includes chatting with our customers to understand their lifestyles. Most don’t realize that there are different types of lenses suited for different lifestyles. For example, we opt for a different lens for customers in front of the computer all day than we do for customers who lead more active lifestyles.
Photo by Scott Foust Photography
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Earlier you mentioned your expansion to LA. Share with us a bit about how you grew your business to another market?
Christy Kimball: Growth has always been serendipitous for Framed Ewe. I was approached to run the eyewear department for Fred Segal through word of mouth. Ready for the challenge, I jumped at the opportunity. At Fred Segal, I curate the ready-to-wear glasses sold in the boutique. What I was curating became so successful that we opened a Framed Ewe location in Los Feliz to expand on those offerings in a new, hungry market.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Eyewear is so clearly a passion. Is there a certain aspect of your work in the industry or as a small business owner that is most fulfilling?
Christy Kimball: I love creating the spaces in my stores, and strive to curate a comfortable, modern, laid-back space that feels like a boutique hotel lobby. I like to include bright and happy vibes in our stores. I also draw inspiration from the Arizona desert. So, we have one big crystal in each store, which I picked up at the Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson. They are beautiful and they help set an intention for an open, welcoming place. We have a big neon sign that says “Only Love.” We also have an art gallery in our Phoenix store where we feature local artists and love to host events.
Photo by Scott Foust Photography
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Speaking of Arizona, can you share a few of your favorite experiences unique to the Valley?
Christy Kimball: I love so many places in Phoenix it’s hard to list them all, but some of my favorites are Local Nomad, For the People, Now or Never, Phoenix General, IVOL, MANOR, The Vintage Arizona, Modern Manor, The Fred, Camelback Flowershop, and Heaven’s Closet.
My favorite activities include visiting Liberty Wildlife and The Farm South Mountain, hiking in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, walking on the canal, or tubing the salt river. I can’t forget the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum. I’ve also been dying to take a ceramics class at PIP Coffee and Clay.
The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Finally, any recommendations for drinking and dining like a local?
Christy Kimball: Absolutely! For drinks, I opt for First Place Coffee, The Dirty Drummer, Durants, and Parlor. For dining, Bacanora, Glai Baan, Anything Bianco.
Stop by The Colony (5538 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85012) for a peek at their collection of independent eyeware and sunglasses. Or, make an appointment for a more personalized full-service experience to snag a limited edition frame for yourself!