Just outside Glasgow we head down a single track road by a loch to meet Jamie Bartlett and Lucy Ross, founders of Banton Frameworks. Together they produce simple, contemporary eyewear made here in the UK.
Their name comes from Banton Loch, situated right next to their workshop studio. The space is a large converted shed, neatly laid out with a mixture of purpose-built and bought-in equipment to handle the majority of their in-house processes; processes they have been refining since the couple met at university. It was Lucy who started to make glasses in her fourth year for her final major project and she enlisted Jamie’s help as they were on the same product design course. They worked well as a team, and decided to set themselves a goal of showing and selling the glasses at Design Junction, a yearly trade show in London three months later. At this point they hadn’t actually made and finished a pair, but as Lucy says, “it seemed so simple at the time. It was just a frame front, two sides and a hinge.” Three very busy months later they were still finishing off the frames in the car on the way to London, but the show went well and they ploughed the money they made straight back into buying equipment.
From that point on the business grew organically. The pair continued adapting the process, improving, finding new ways to do things to a point they were happy with. There are now seven styles to chose from. Lucy says, “simplifying the collection of designs, materials and finishes allows us to really focus on getting the frames perfect.” The designs themselves are classic and contemporary, with the synonymous riveted hinges that add that certain charm.
They are clearly passionate about making locally and are currently only one of a handful of frame makers here in the UK. Jamie says, “we are driven by material, process and design but more importantly what is achievable in this country.” They have worked passionately to get to where they are now and have a process they are happy with, producing frames that are getting more and more popular, not just because of the design but also because of their ethos and values.
Simplifying their supply chain and bringing the majority of processes in-house has allowed the pair to build a business with solid foundations and, more importantly, made the manufacture of their eyewear far more sustainable and future proof. Jamie is already talking about apprenticeships and helping change the way eyewear is made in this country forever. Their enthusiasm and focus on getting the job done here in the UK is infectious and the processes they have in place are very scalable. They may be a small business now but they have big plans and a bright future.