Coco and Breezy have always had a hustler’s mentality. In the ninth grade, a school counselor asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up.
“Entrepreneurs,” they both replied.
It’s an unusual response, but from two unusually driven young women. By the time they turned 17, both were working three jobs in order to support their family and apparel interests. Sensing their passion for accessory design could take them elsewhere, they decided to move from Minneapolis to New York City in pursuit of their dreams.
Moving to the big city put them in a substantially larger pool of aspiring designers, which is why they never could’ve imagined how quickly things would fall into place. With designs inspired by the City’s architecture, Coco and Breezy set to the streets flaunting their distinctive sunglasses. NYC pedestrians were the first to take notice, then came the celebrities, who quickly caught onto the next “thing” - resulting in a high-profile customer list and a sustainable business model.
Reaching heights they never could have imagined, the girls’ product can now be found in boutiques from Hong Kong to Portugal. Within ten years, they plan to be a household name and have the means to run a charity to fund the dreams of young entrepreneurs. Aiming to democratize the ruthless fashion industry, their glasses are designed to reflect any personality - where better to begin than in the city of eight million stories.
GR: Seems like you ladies have had the hustler’s spirit since day one, that “sell water to a well”-type of ability?
Breezy: Honestly, I think we’ve always had the hustler’s mentality. When we were kids, we always saved our birthday money. We weren’t the kids buying toys; we would save to buy colored pencils, sketch books and sewing machines.
GR: How did you break it to your parents that you were going to move to New York?
B: “Mom and Dad, we love New York so much and just want to quit everything and move there. If it doesn’t work, then we can come back but we have the ambition to make it happen. They said, “go for it”.
GR: From what I’ve heard, it seems like they were right to be confident in your abilities.
B: The first week we moved there, it was crazy how people were like, “oh my gosh, I love your glasses, I love your art.” People were literally approaching us in the street and buying the glasses off our faces - that’s how we raised our first month’s rent.
GR: What response do you usually receive when you tell New Yorkers that you were from Minnesota?
B: Really? People in Minnesota look like that? They are always so surprised. A lot of people don’t believe us.
GR: Seems like everyday I see a new photo posted on Instagram of a celebrity wearing your shades - who are some of your most high-profile supporters?
The first ones to wear our glasses were Kelly Osbourne and Ashanti - that was within a week of moving to New York. Since then our glasses have been worn by many - [Lady] Gaga, Nikki Minaj, Ciara, Beyonce, Theophilus London, Serena Williams, Miguel and even Trinidad James.
GR: You told me that Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Christian Roth were a couple of your favorite designers - are those the ones you look to for inspiration?
B: We don’t look at too much fashion, our designs are more inspired by buildings and shapes. We take things that aren’t normal and make them into a pair of sunglasses.
GR: When you’re in the lab designing a new pair of glasses, is there a particular type of person you visualize wearing them?
B: Our brand is universal; it doesn’t cater to race but rather to personality. That (change to That’s) why you notice in our latest collection, Omorose, the campaign image features people from all over: Russian, European and even a bi-sexual (take dash out of bisexual) albino [Shaun Ross, first male albino model]. Omorose equals the beauty of unity, with each pair being a different shape and color.
GR: Being twins, do you mostly have the same sensibilities when it comes to style or are you usually coming from different points of view when designing?
B: Coco is a perfectionist so I’ll start the design and then Coco will finish it. (There is one extra space before Its and It’s needs to have an apostrophe) Its cool because we have the same perspective but we look at different designs in different ways. (Take out the one extra space)I’ll make a design and then we both know what we’re good at so we come together and unify.
GR: Recently you spoke on a panel at Southern New Hampshire University. Tell me about the sense of responsibility you feel towards teaching the youth?
B: Our main goal is to be the inspiration for youth with a dream, but in need of direction. We want to be the people that share knowledge and offer guidance so kids our age can relate to us, to someone that is 22 [and a successful entrepreneur], so that way they see that it’s possible.