Seeing Into the Future

Issue 11-20-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


Over the years I counseled college students, and a common phenomenon was a reluctance to join the family business. Instead, these students wanted to make it on their own. There are clearly pros and cons to that. In this instance, you decide.

Zack Moscot is the fifth-generation member of the family behind Moscot, the venerable New York eyewear company founded in 1915 by his great-great-grandfather. At an early age, he declared a distinct lack of interest in going into the family business. Begrudgingly, however, he slowly gained exposure to the company, first in middle school working in customer service. In high school, he worked in design, which likely influenced his pursuit of an industrial design degree.

Moscot’s competition is stiff, well-armed, and largely cheaper, dominated by Luxxotica Group, who is a potential partner in a $53 million merger with a leading lens maker. This alone would capture 25 percent of the market. Meanwhile, e-commerce companies such as Warby Parker, which recorded 500 percent growth in 2016, are solidifying their place in the consumer mind as hip. Moscot’s glasses are better quality and, therefore, cost more money. The brand doesn’t chase trends, relying instead on its long history of making eyeglasses to offer the styles people want at any given moment. For Moscot, the brand’s key appeal lies in its city heritage.

To address the eyewear market’s growing trend, Moscot offers online shopping. But, there are also the bells and whistles that distinguish the Moscot in-person experience. The company is the first to hire a full-time doctor who specializes in computer-vision syndrome, an affliction especially relevant to Moscot’s target clientele, the digitally savvy employees at the nearby offices of Google and YouTube.

While Zack is finishing up spring designs, he also manages collaborations with downtown Manhattan brands defined by their casual approach to urban cool. The common denominator in all these endeavors is to sell a piece of Manhattan, whether it’s close-to-home design language or marketing that assures overseas customers “they’re truly wearing a piece of New York.”

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