Judge Khanna, Cofounder, SpiltMilk Eyewear

Designing a luxe yet funky eyewear brand.

“Life’s not that serious, live in the moment” says Cofounder, Saif Ghobash of the new edgy eyewear brand from New York, SpiltMilk. Saif and Judge founded the brand originally in NYC when they realized there was a gap in the market for edgy, fun yet affordable eyewear.

Read on to witness their plans in expanding across the GCC, a region they believe they have great potential in due to consumers’ shopping preferences.  

About SpiltMilk

SpiltMilk brings humor to the luxury eyewear market through thought provoking, flawless designs and fearless self-expression. Inspiration is drawn globally with each frame meticulously sourced and handcrafted in Japan. Using a combination of malleable titanium and stainless steel, the foundation is built on inclusivity and being comfortable in your skin. SpiltMilk has carved an impressive niche in the market by battling the status quo with boldness, standing behind the values of authenticity, influence, and authority. The eyewear is not just a product, but a platform for hope and change, encouraging that gender equality should be evoked through the freedom of fashion. In February, SpiltMilk was recognized by the top of the industry when the seven eyewear designers of the CFDA and Vision Expo named SpiltMilk the winner of the 2020 talent search. SpiltMilk was also inducted into Goldhouse, a nonprofit collective of diverse leaders that empower Asian entrepreneurs. Now found across 30 stores worldwide, from IT in Hong Kong, to Selfridges in London, the brand has been sported on international superstars such as RuPaul’s Drag Race judge, Michelle Visage and actresses Jamie Chung & Jessica Alba. The name came from the phrase, “don’t cry over spilt milk,” to live in the moment and not get stuck in the past.

The cofounders created the brand with a niche customer in mind and for a reason. The most tailored aspect to the designs is that the eyewear can be adjusted to each person’s face structure. Below we cover Saif and Judge’s mission of expanding across the world, namely the GCC, where they believe that their ideal type of customer is located.

Customers in the Middle East may opt for brighter clothing and/or accessories. Many assume that the choices in eclectic colors and/or styles could be due to being covered, either via wearing the national dress or choosing modestwear for cultural or religious reasons. But this doesn’t mean that their makeup, jewelry or accessories are toned down. In fact, standout accessories are what help personalize more modest looks to one’s own standard and taste. To this end, the founders of SpiltMilk believe their products will be well-appreciated across the GCC region.

1.  Briefly tell us about how SpiltMilk Eyewear came to fruition and your partnership as co-founders.

Saif Ghobash and I came together after recognizing there was something missing in the eyewear world. When it comes to luxury eyewear brands, there is a sense of seriousness and exclusivity. SpiltMilk was born out of our desire to evoke humor, while creating an inclusive platform to allow people to feel a sense of belonging. Saif has always said to me, ‘Life’s not that serious, live in the moment’ – an idea that has become our brand voice. Saif is very business savvy and I’m the creative, so the synergy between us is unparalleled.

2.  Why the name, ‘Spilt Milk’?

The phrase that truly resonates with our brand is, “Don’t cry over Spilt Milk.” It reminds us and others to not get stuck in the past, but to live in the moment. SpiltMilk Eyewear is a breath of fresh air to the world; we want to release that innate self confidence that you already have. The moment you put the frames on, you’ll be ready to take on anything that comes your way.

3.  The brand has a very specific aesthetic. What kind of customer did you have in mind when designing the pieces and your marketing strategy (re: tone of voice, packaging, content, etc.?) 

Our customer is the person that’s not afraid to say what’s on their mind and stand up for what they believe is right. Our consumer has very strong likes and dislikes; if they’re going to do something, they’ll go full force or not at all. We’ve had a lot of fun on social media playing with this idea and taking an eyewear brand out of context, collaborating with Gregorys Coffee based in New York, Hatsu based in Columbia and many other fun brands to evoke this idea. Our innovative packaging includes a matte black milk carton, an oversized case and cleaning cloth playing on extreme proportions.

4.  You launched in NYC, however recently expanded to GCC. What have you noticed are the main differences in customer tastes and needs when it comes to eyewear? How do you speculate that a customer in GCC looks at eyewear in general as a complement to his/her #OOTD versus someone in USA?

I’m so glad you brought this up! It’s so interesting because we assumed our target customer would be the same throughout the world, but each country has interpreted the brand differently- it has been so cool to watch. The GCC customer is definitely more daring than I expected. Our more unique silhouettes have done really well in the GCC area, whereas our more traditional styles are a big attraction in the states.

"Our customer is the person that’s not afraid to say what’s on their mind and stand up for what they believe is right."

5.  Since COVID-19; online shopping is gaining traction among most age groups. How do you create a helpful and trusting virtual experience for someone who is hesitant to purchase eyewear without trying them on first?

In this time of uncertainty, we’ve been looking at ways to innovate. We’re hoping to create a virtual showroom, where we will walk the customers through the collection via zoom to allow them to have a personal shopping experience with the brand. We believe that this will help the customers have a more personalized experience buying frames versus just shopping online.

6.  Do you consider SpiltMilk to operate via a customer-centric/customer-focused approach?

Absolutely, our customers are our priority! The brand is built on the idea of inclusivity, with each frame made from malleable titanium and stainless steel.  Nose pads and temples are adjustable to fit each face allowing the frame to sit comfortably. We are a global brand and realize no face is the same, so it was important to us to make sure the frames have that personalized touch.

7.  What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to disrupt the norm and break a status quo in GCC fashion?

Be nice and genuine, people sense your intention not only hear your words. Be resilient because there will be a lot of people who want to knock you down. Stay focused and keep going. When it comes to building the business, solidify the brand narrative, the customer demographic and the uniqueness you’re bringing to the industry.

8.  What can we expect to see in 2020 with SpiltMilk in UAE? Will you be expanding to other parts of GCC?

We’re super excited to see what the future has in store of us in the GCC area. We’re hoping to collaborate with some amazing brands and build on exclusive drops. That’s all I can say for now but stay tuned!