Faces – Sabine Be

Sabine be, a new name at TEF Magazine, but hardly new in the industry. In just 5 years, sabine be has rapidly become one of the most respected and innovative glasses designers in the optical industry. Exactly the kind of frames that we at TEF love so much. We had a little chat with Sabine about what drives her passion to create.


Sabine, you started just a couple of years ago, designing unique shapes in unique colors. Where did that desire come from?

Since my childhood I always wanted to be a stylist and make clothes, transform objects, etc. I was accepted in a design school but my father had thrown away the admission file because he didn’t want me to become an artist. I was born into a family of doctors, pharmacists, opticians, so he did not understand my desire. It must be said that he himself was an optician and had created his own eyewear factory.

But why did chose to create such unique designs instead of more commercial shapes?

Because I wanted to realize my dream of creation and that to make existing products does not interest me at all. Even when I buy clothing, accessories or any product, I like to transform it to my own style.

Some of Sabine’s optical designs

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On your website, there is the option to listen to your very own playlist. Is music a big part of your creative process?

Yes it’s true, I love music, it appeases and inspires me. It gives me energy when sometimes I lose it. Music takes me back to happy moments and sometimes less happy but it’s like the smell, it reminds you of memories, and sometimes that can really drive my inspiration.

Besides music, what else can drive your creativity?

As I said, the smells, but also the travels … Miami is my first source of inspiration because there is a very particular light which is apparently due to the Bermuda triangle. All colors are contrasted! I just love it! These colors stay with me for a very long time. One day a journalist asked me the exact same question, and I answered exactly the same. I told him, I made a drawing when I was 15 years old and this is the only drawing the teacher allowed me to keep because it got a 20 / 20 (ie the best score at this time). And then I realized that this drawing was really the root from what I create today with my brand “Sabine be“.

 

Everything can inspire me at any time like styling my hair in the morning. By making 2 little buns on the top of my head, I found that I looked like a little cat from where I was born, which inspired my design for the frame “be cat’s”. This model was nominated for Silmo d’Or at my very first show.

 

Also the curves of our river “The Loire” which gave birth to my frame design “be Val de Loire” with asymmetrical curves (like our river). Especcialy in its ivory sunglass version, which represents the color of the large stones of our castles of the Loire. Its degraded glasses of green and blue recall the different shades of this river according to the seasons.

How did you start making your eyewear? Where you already active in the optical market?

I have been an optician for 33 years. I worked in the our family shop for 25 years with my mom. When I lost my mom in 2009, I realized that life goes by really fast and thought, it’s time for me to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing. I went back home one night and told my son (who was doing business studies in Los Angeles) and my husband about my project.

 

I thought they would find my idea completely crazy considering my age (I was 49 years old at the time) and to my surprise it was my son who told me: “Mum, the most beautiful successes are with people your age” ??? so I said GO !!! And so I embarked on a great new adventure with many experience in eyewear already.

Some of Sabine’s sunglass designs

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Being French yourself, do you have your eyewear made in France as well?

Of course, this was also my first wish and suddenly my first difficulties. I had a hard time finding a French manufacturer because they did not take me seriously. One of them, with whom I had worked for many years for my own shop, put his hand on my shoulder and said to me: “But my poor girl, do you know how much it costs to launch your own brand?”

 

What he did not know is that all this gave me even more desire to get there … Unfortunately my first manufacturer filed for bankruptcy  after I had paid the entire production, and there all my dream of 30 years collapsed! I had everything, my cases that I had designed to measure, my chains too, my displays that I had created also, my tissue paper to pack the glasses, the logotypes “Sabine be”, I had everything except glasses !!! I finally found a new manufacturer thanks to the good relations that I had met during all these years with my representatives and also thanks to my bankers who really believed in my project.

What are your thoughts on independent eyewear brands vs the big licensed brands, and how can independent stores use that?

For me the consumer comes back to true values ​​and starts to like products that have a real history, where there are human hands that make them. That sign of real personality, because the glasses of today are not just a prostheses but a useful accessory. Eyewear is the first thing you see on a face, as much as it signs its own identity. Independent opticians fully understand the journey of creators and the new desires of consumers.

How do you see your brand in say 5 years from now?

In 5 years, we celebrated the 10 years of “Sabine be” so I hope that my brand will continue on this path. But besides just eyewear, I want to complete the loop by becoming a creative stylist in the full. I have just created a new company “Sabine be Life”, an extension of “Sabine be” that will offer consumers and especially followers of the community, different products that I would like to find. This concerns, accessories, jewelry, tableware, unpublished objects, clothing etc … All that surround my life somehow


We would like to thank Sabine for her time and are truly looking forward to her new work! Check out her booth at Silmo #5 N 122.

Author: maarten weidema

After being a freelance eyewear designer since 1999, TEF founder Maarten Weidema now solely writes about his fellow designers in the optical industry. His passionate mission is to promote independent eyewear to the international optical arena, backed up by a large group of bloggers and journalists from all over the world. He has recently been awarded “International Optical Personality of the Year” for his efforts to promote independent eyewear to a community of 322.000 ECPs.

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