Owner of Moods Eyewear, Allena Grant Is Breaking The Glass Ceiling in The Eyewear Industry
With the warm weather approaching, we have plenty of sunny days ahead of us. With that being said more and more people will be rocking sunglasses. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, and reduce eyestrain in bright conditions. Finding the right pair is key to your comfort, whether you’re driving to work, out for brunch, or on the beach. While almost everyone owns or has owned a pair of sunglasses there are very few Black women designing them or any type of eyewear. We were able to speak with Allena Grant, a woman breaking the glass ceiling in the eyewear industry. We gained insight into her backstory as well as what it’s like to be a Black woman in the luxury eyewear space.
Tell us about yourself. Where’d you grow up? Where do you live now? What was your childhood like?
Well, my name is Allena Grant and I am the owner of Moods Eyewear. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I still reside in Houston, Texas. I love Houston’s culture and I am proud to be a Houstonian. I was raised in a loving home and I am so thankful for my parents. The women in my life have played an instrumental role in the way that I think and why I am the way that I am. My mother was a teacher and now she is a professor at Texas Southern University. She also has an entrepreneurial spirit and has started many businesses during her lifetime. That is what inspired me to start my eyewear business and I really did not think twice about starting on this entrepreneur journey because of the roots she planted in me. My mother has also been very supportive during this time. Growing up I spent a lot of time around my grandmother and she was a very creative person. She could sew, style hair and was the queen of DIY. I thought about her alot when I was designing my eyewear frames. My father is very stern and he makes sure to tell me how to handle my business matters. All of these qualities from my parents and grandmother all shaped me into the businesswoman I am today. I am forever grateful for all that they have instilled in me.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
First and foremost I am a black woman selling a luxury eyewear brand so that sets me apart from the competition. There is a very small percentage of black women in the luxury eyewear industry. I designed my frames and had them handmade in Italy, which screams luxury. The frame is made up of a Mazzucchelli acetate. The stems of my frames are made up of stainless steel and sport the word MOODS, which is my brand name. People always tend to come and get a closer look at the frames to try and read what the stems say. They are attention-grabbing frames and I love that about them. So if you want to be noticed you should purchase Moods Eyewear.
There’s a very small percentage of black designers in the eyewear industry. How do you feel about that statistic?
I love that I am a trailblazer and I am in my own lane. I feel that this will set me apart from the rest of the eyewear designers that I grew up purchasing from. I know what God has for me is for me. I do hope to see more black designers in luxury. I feel that it will be great for our community.
April is International Black Women’s History Month. Why do you feel this month is so important? How do you feel your brand will make history?
I feel that International Black Women’s History Month is important because black women need to be celebrated! It is imperative for the next generation of Black women to understand how far Black women have come and all the accomplishments we have achieved. I feel that understanding Black women’s history can give young girls the confidence to keep pushing through life. Learning about the Black women in my family has personally motivated me. Many of the women in my family are professors, accountants, scientists, medical professionals, lawyers, teachers, and officers. I have watched them succeed in their professional life and then come home to their husbands and children. So anytime I am feeling down or not motivated I think of the women in my family and think to myself that I have the same blood as them. I am reminded that I can get through with whatever I am dealing with and that I can have it all.
I feel that my brand will make history because I am a black woman in a luxury industry. I know one day that I will be able to run a multi-million dollar eyewear brand.
Who is your business role model? Why?
Of course, I would have to say the obvious Black women like Oprah, Beyonce, and Rhianna. They are black women who run million and billion-dollar businesses. Their marketing is impeccable. Another woman that I look up to as a business role model is LaVida Samuel. She owns Elle Vie Body Products. Her body butter is immaculate and it smells delicious! Her marketing is amazing and her social media presence is cute and relatable.
What do you define as success?
I define success as peace of mind and happiness in what you are doing. I feel that when you find your purpose in life that is success. When your purpose is aligned with your soul everything just seems right in the world. The pandemic has really been influential in the way that I view life. I try not to take myself too seriously now and I am enjoying the journey of entrepreneurship.
Let’s get into fashion. What are 2 of your favorite accessory trends?
Of course, my favorite accessory right now is shades/eyewear. Eyewear is apart of my everyday life. Not only is eyewear fashionable but there is a health benefit. Shades protect your eyes from the intense sun rays. Besides eyewear, I love small compact purses. They are so cute and also functional for me because I tend to go overboard with the amount of things that I can carry in an oversized bag.
Name 3 women in the fashion industry that inspire you.
I love Claire Sulmers and what she has done with FashionBombDaily! Of course, June Ambrose is an OG in the fashion industry and I love her style. I would also have to say, Grace Jones! I love her carefree personality in the world of fashion when Black women were not really accepted in that world.
What do you have planned for Moods over the next six months?
I plan on designing a unisex frame and hopefully, that will be released within the next six months! So be on the lookout for a new collection of frames from Moods Eyewear.