Toxit is the success story of how stubbornness, persistence and dedication to your product will get you right where you aimed from the start. After having her ambitious project – creating an innovative e-commerce focusing on eyewear, where products would be sold directly in dropshipping – rejected by potential partners, Elina Oliynyk decided she didn’t need anyone else but herself to put her ideas in action. She launched her line of luxury eyewear, entirely produced and assembled by hand in Italy, in observance of all European standards and regulations on “Made in Italy” craftsmanship. We sat down with Elina to discuss the early beginnings of her brand, producing locally and preserving the long-established “Made in Italy” tradition, and her future plans.
Tell us a bit about what you were doing before Toxit, and how you first started.
After my Baccalaureate, I followed in my family’s footsteps, and took over the activity of my mom who ran a small business of brokerage and commercial intermediary, supporting Italian entrepreneurs to search out for new markets or business partners in the countries of the former Soviet Union. In fact, I am still doing this on the side, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. Toxit is the result of my own passion and dreams; it represents my ambitions and desire to express myself creating something new and real – something mine.
What made you passionate about eyewear?
Since I was a kid, like all girls I suppose, I was passionate about my motherâ€™s wardrobe. I used to steal her clothes, shoes and jewelry to pretend-play at home, imagining to attend major events like I saw all celebrities do on TV. Sunglasses are a fascinating accessory: depending on their style, shape or material, they give that final touch in creating the image of a person. Eyewear indeed is the accessory which specifies and completes every look: diva, hippy, modern, dreamy, carefree – all of these could be expressed with different sunglasses. I strongly believe sunglasses are no longer just a medium to protect ourselves from the sun; they complete our outfits as well, and this is what fascinates me a lot!
Tell us a few words on your label and current collection.
The idea to create my own brand was born after many brands say “no” to my proposal to be part of an innovative e-commerce, where they could sell directly in dropshipping. Clearly the project would have been focused only on sunglasses of true Italian craftsmanship, niche and style. After being turned down, I didn’t give up; I created an alternative proposal of a few pieces, made with great care and quality by myself. Toxit in fact means “rebelling against everything that’s toxic, old, wrong, and going on following our ideas and dreams. The collection includes 27 pieces; I tried to play with the most coveted styles, selecting high-quality materials, focusing on colors and shapes of great relevance. Everything is scrupulously made in Italy, including the packaging.
What kind of materials do you use for your products?
I believe people deserve to know what they are paying for. As I said before, I’ve selected all raw materials made in Italy that meet all written and conventional norms of European and Italian craftsmanship. Sunglasses are made of 100% Italian acetate and metal with 100% hypoallergenic galvanic. The lenses are high-quality, as well, certified and produced in Italy. Even the cases are designed by myself, and are handmade in Italy with Tuscan leather. All producers are listed on our website in the “Handmade“ section, and all materials used for each pair are specified in their details page.
How do you choose the silhouettes for your designs?
To be honest, I just followed my personal taste. I’ve visited a lot of exhibitions and looked through thousands of eyewear industry magazines, then I just went to a professional designer studio and asked to realize technical drawings of my sunglasses giving them all the indications about the characteristics I wanted them to have. The same study was done for the professionals who guided me throughout choosing colors and understanding the upcoming trends.
What does “Made in Italy” mean to you?
Oh, I’m in love with the true Italian soul! Sure, Italy is going through a very difficult period from both a political and economic point of view. But it also values its traditions, abilities and wealth that all world envies. Quality, innovation and style in every industrial sector – shoes, bags, jewelry, and fashion in general – is appreciated throughout the world. Also, all sunglasses giants have started in Cadore, where the true production of eyewear was born. Having said that, “Made in Italy” for me is class, authenticity, style, tradition, love, passion, culture, knowledge and quality! It’s an origin to be proud of; a tradition to revive and carry on around the world.
Why is supporting small local factories important to you?
It is very important, especially at this time! Many multinational companies have abandoned their origins, and hoping to grow their profits, they have taken part of production to countries where labor cost is very cheap. Unfortunately, many laws allow them to do this while continuing to label their product “Made in Italy” just because the last part of production is assembled in Italy by outside contractors. That’s why today craftsmen are going through a really difficult period! The things are going to change anyway! The value of knowledge and craftsmen’s contributions are invaluable, and it is exactly with them that these traditions and productions must continue. Quality is never synonymous with low prices, and luxury is our contribution to the world, to the people, to those who produce and to those who buy. Italian craftsmen are hard workers and deserve to be recognized for it, as well as people deserve to wear the real â€œMade in Italyâ€ product they expected to buy.
What is the biggest challenge newcomers face in your industry?
You know, being involved in any type of start-up is a huge challenge on its own anyway! The market is so full of proposals, and it’s really difficult to be heard. I’m hopeful to have found people who feel the same things with me and who appreciate my work, my point of view and my products! A big part of success consists in bringing people something that improves their life. I strongly believe that the values, mission and the final Toxit product could give people a great example, motivation and high-quality, stylish sunglasses they deserve to wear.
What do you love most about running your business?
Everything I suppose! I mean I’m very curious, and I love challenges. This year, I’ve learned so much about every single path of this business, production, distribution, and the fashion industry! It brings me in touch with different people; I learn their work, their world and when, in the end, I present my collection, I LOVE seeing the look in their eyes that says “Wow! I love it, and I must have it!”
What are your future plans?
My future plans are Toxit. I’ve a “baby” in my arms now, who was born just a few months ago and needs to grow in the best and healthiest way. I’d like to launch this collection making the most of the opportunities that the modern market and distribution are giving me, and Iâ€™m already impatient thinking about the new ones.
Images © Toxit