From left: Ong En Ming, their mother, Ong Ker Shing and Ker Shing’s son. Photo: Rocket Eyewear

If you’re always on the look out for rising eyewear labels, Rocket Eyewear Company is certainly one you wouldn’t want to miss. Founded by local siblings Ong En Ming and Ong Ker Shing, the e-commerce brand specialises in P3 sunglasses that are hitting all the right notes with their function, comfort and fit. But what else sets the brand apart? Read our interview with co-founder Ong En Ming to find out about the inspirations behind the brand, future creative campaigns and more.

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We know that Rocket Eyewear is a project inspired by your mother. Can you share the story behind it with us?

My mother travels a lot and is always losing her sunglasses. Whether she’s in London or Lombok, she always wears P3 sunglasses – a shape that’s classic, round and effortlessly stylish. When I found out how much she paid for them and how often she has to get new ones, my jaw dropped. This was when I thought maybe I could start a business selling sunglasses to my mum.

When did Rocket Eyewear officially launch and how long did it take to get through the preparation process before unveiling the brand?

We launched on 23 September 2017. I started working on Rocket in January, and we launched in September, so it took us about nine months of preparation work. There were many things to work on such as designing the product, finding a top-notch manufacturer partner and getting the brand right just to name a few.

Share with us some of the most challenging and fulfilling parts of starting up a business.

“Strong convictions, loosely held” is a quote that summarises it all. You need to be firm yet adaptable which are two seemingly opposite characteristics! The most fulfilling part is when you talk with customers who care about your product. We’ve managed to create a product that our customers love, and this sense of community keeps us going every single day. We’re also proud of having designed a frame that fits Asian faces, as they come in both Standard and Raised Fit so they don’t touch our cheeks when we smile.

Photo: Rocket Eyewear

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How involved are you and your sister in the design and production process?

Extremely. My sister comes up with all the designs, and then I go work alongside my manufacturing partners — up to several weeks at a time —  to ensure we’re all in sync.

What/who are some of your inspirations and how do they apply to your creative process?

We find inspiration everywhere. We aimed to get it right with the frame first, and then once we had this really classic, flattering shape we decided to make it in many colours. Our launch collection colour scheme was inspired by holiday destinations: Pearl/Rifle Green was inspired by the Swiss Alps, Indigo/Seashell by Phuket. Our next collection is inspired by a short story my niece wrote.

Tell us more about the #RocketHappiness project.

#RocketHappiness was a social media campaign we launched in September to celebrate happiness and how it could mean many different things to different people. Taking part in the campaign was simple: Snap a picture and share what happiness means to you. And then we would choose each day’s best post about happiness and give that person a free pair of Rocket sunglasses.

Currently, Rocket Eyewear only carries P3 Sunglasses designs, are you guys planning to venture out to create other types of sunglasses?

We started Rocket to specialise in just one shape. Right now, we’re experimenting with new materials and nose pad options to make Rockets the most comfortable, best-fitting sunglasses on the planet. We don’t currently have any plans to expand to other shapes, but never say never. If, one day, our mother starts rocking triangle sunglasses, we may have to start making those…

And lastly, do you have any plans on opening a physical store for Rocket Eyewear in the future?

We don’t plan to open a physical store, but we love working with distribution partners! Locally, we work with Keepers, Tanjong Beach Club and Gallery & Co. Overseas, we’re partnering with COMO Hotels in Bali and Four Seasons in the Maldives.

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Happy Sunday everyone!

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