As busy working mums Tammy Schmidt and Kylie Thomasz both know what it is like to do the school run while feeling less than glamorous.
But throwing on the right accessory — which in their case is always a pair of statement sunglasses — and they believe anyone can feel like a million dollars.
“As mums we put our activewear on, drive our kids to school. You feel a bit, ‘mmm I hope I don’t see anyone today’,” Kylie told news.com.au.
“But the thing is, if you put on a big pair of oversized sunnies and instantly there’s impact … you feel glamorous without a lot of effort.”
For years the Melbourne sisters bonded over their love of bold oversized designer sunglasses favoured by celebrities.
“We always loved big sunglasses,” Tammy said. “Shows like the Kardashians and JLo, those types of people, they always have big sunnies. It just resonated with us, it was just our thing.”
But with designer pairs costing upwards of $600, they found it hard to justify the price at times.
“We would go buy Dior or Gucci [sunglasses] and spend a lot of money and think to ourselves, ‘oh my god, now I’ve got to protect this’, because it cost me five, six hundred dollars or even more,” Tammy said.
Frustratingly, Tammy and Kylie also couldn’t find sunglasses at more affordable retailers that were oversized enough to achieve the style they wanted.
“At that time we were looking for some aviators, oversized aviators … they weren’t big enough or they were really expensive,” Kylie said.
“You would go to just a normal store and they’d say, ‘oh, these are oversized’ but they still felt small, they just didn’t have that wow factor about them,” Tammy added.
Given the sisters had always wanted to work together, they decided to solve the problem themselves, starting their own sunglasses brand Skye + Lach in 2016.
“We thought if we are struggling to find what we would be happy to buy at Dior — apart from the price — but if we could produce something of similar sizing, quality, all of those things and keep them affordable, under $100, that would be the goal,” Tammy said.
The business was originally intended as a bit of a side hustle for Tammy and Kylie, who both worked in corporate airline roles.
But when March 2020 saw travel grind to halt and Kylie lose her job, it prompted them to take the business full time.
Today Skye + Lach is a flourishing Melbourne-based brand that’s chic and affordable sunglasses have a cult following. This year, the brand is projected to hit $5 million in revenue and its most popular styles frequently sell out. In 2020, sales skyrocketed thanks to an unpaid endorsement of their Havana sunglasses from Sophie Monk.
“She very organically found our brand on Google and starting following us and liking us on Instagram,” Kylie said.
“We ended up sending her some of our styles… then a couple of weeks later she put them on her social media and tagged us.
“We had no idea it was going to happen, so when it happened we had a huge amount of traffic to the website and followers and sales.”
While Sophie wearing their Havana sunnies was a high point, Kylie and Tammy say they get just as excited to spot everyday women wearing Skye + Lach’s styles.
“The pinch me moments are when you see customers walking around in the street,” Tammy said.
Skye + Lach’s most popular styles are the “Prada-inspired” Havana sunglasses and Holiday — a oversized style that frequently sells out.
“At the moment we’ve seen a resurgence with our Havana style, it’s always been our number one bestseller,” Tammy said.
“It’s a style that’s very classic.”
As for their personal favourites, Tammy loves the “understated” Play sunnies, while Kylie can’t get enough of the “big, square” styles meaning she often reaches for a pair of Holiday or Jewel sunglasses.
“I’m loving lately the Play style because it’s been very sunny I love to go for a lot of walks and do a lot of outdoorsy things,” Tammy said.
“They’re polarised, they’re very lightweight because they’re thermo plastic … and they look so good.”
Need a new pair of swimmers? Read our round-up of the best Aussie swimwear brands here, or find out what school shoes one Queensland mum has been buying for the past five years because the “quality is so good”.
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