Glasses aren’t usually the first item that comes to mind when you think of accessories. Nurilens sells fashion-forward frames with blue light filter lenses — and they’re here to prove that glasses, like scarves and belts, should and can be statement pieces.
Juliette Nelson, founder, and owner of Nurilens, created the company at the end of last year out of a life-long vision and dream of owning and making a glasses company.
“I used to get made fun of for all the crazy glasses designs I would wear, but now that I make them, people love them,” Nelson said about her love of glasses.
Nelson’s life experiences serve as the inspiration for the company and its unique designs. For example, the brand’s name comes from her Korean name, Na Nuri, given to her by her school director and pastor while teaching English in the country. The name comes from the Korean verb Nanuda, which means to share.
“By giving me this name, he commissioned me to share my gift wherever I go,” she said.
However, the idea for Nurilens (which together means “share my lens”) didn’t come until a couple of years later, after Nelson left Korea. She started an academic and professional learning and development company. During this time, Nelson remembers making a vague promise to herself that the next pair of glasses she bought would be ones made by her.
While working with students and academic professionals, Nelson noticed how much time we spend in front of screens (phones and computers), which emits harmful blue light. She decided then that if she made glasses, they would be both aesthetically unique and physically beneficial.
Nelson sketches each design herself, using wood as the primary material. Wood holds significance to Nelson. Her mother, a Haitian immigrant, passed down her love for handcrafted wooden furniture.
“Wood represents growth, it represents wisdom, evolution like a tree deeply rooted, and it grows, evolves. So for me, that became symbolic of the commission I want to give to my customers; that everybody has a purpose.”
The name of each pair of glasses is a reference to a city or place that has impacted Nelson’s life.
“I wanted the names to be symbolic of my experience, as well as my identity and the identities of my friends and family.”
All the names represent the concept that, “no matter where we go (as Black people), we are connected.” Nelson described.
Nurilens’ best-seller, the Montego Bay, is named after Nelson’s close friend and mentor’s hometown, and the 1804 is named after the year Haiti gained its independence. The Cairo, Nurilens’ newest design is named after Egypt’s capital in a nod to that city’s history as the birthplace of sciences and math.
Nurilens’ mission shows how connected we all are, our history as Black people, and our inherent purpose in this life.