It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the District. The popularity of Washington, D.C.’s H Street is all the buzz when it comes to the nightlife, restaurants, pop-ups, and festivals. For some D.C. natives, Christmas came early this year. Amidst all the culture and activities this month has to offer, philanthropist and owners of the online vintage eyewear company, SpexOfTime.com, Edwin and Melissa Glaude set out down D.C.’s H street on December 17 to offer some holiday cheer to the often ignored, less fortunate. The power couple, who managed to experience a 200% growth in social media following, along with a 25% profit and 7% revenue growth in just eighteen months after going into business, walked the streets sharing the Christmas spirit by handing out wrapped gifts to those less fortunate. The beautifully, wrapped gifts included sets of much needed hats and gloves for the cold winter weather and of course a pair of Spex glasses. The Muse & The Messenger got a moment to hook up with the couple to find out what provoked such a selfless act.
TN: It’s always a pleasure to connect with people doing their thing in today’s world, but it is extra special when its family.
SOT: Totally agree. It's always good to be involved with people that are just as excited about your business as you are about theirs. It's simply more fun that way.
TN: One of my favorite parts about this time of year is the season of giving. I love to witness the whole idea and concept of giving and receiving. Giving seems to be familiar territory for the Spex of Time family. Let’s see, you have the scholarship fund through your Lamar Williams collection. You also support non-profit organizations by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Tiana Reyes and Help Haiti collections in support of research and restoration. I may be questioning the obvious–I mean tis’ the season, but what was your inspiration for your latest act of kindness?
SOT: There’s a few things I would say about that. One thing we try to do totally different is our attention to service in a business. In a world where we get to bask in the image we portray through our keystrokes, we want our customers to know who we are and know that when they send us a DM or email that we will respond and deliver in a timely fashion. We both have sales backgrounds, but our motto is that we are not sales people we are real people. With that being said, giving of any kind is important to us, and we want that to be known. Every single bit counts, right? Sure–Walmart can stroke a $100K check to a NFP at the drop of a hat, but that does not mean that our $100, $500 or $1000 does not make a difference as well. What if all companies of our size participated? That would make a huge impact in our communities. Again, every bit counts period! Wait . . . Sorry I digress.
Our latest act of kindness you ask, we went to the H-Street Corridor of D.C. on December 17 with gifts for the homeless. This area is faced with significant gentrification. We put the same time and thought into their gift as we would a good friend or family member. We made conversation with every one of them. We asked this one middle-aged lady, Yvonne, when was the last time she received a Christmas gift? She said when she was a teenager--that broke our hearts. We chose this area so we could get a sense of natives vs. newcomers. The newcomers weren't from DC at all. No surprise to us, there was no interaction between the two. Take the bus stop for instance . . . where the newcomers waited on the "safe corner" to avoid interaction with others not like them, then run into the bus vs. actually sitting at the bus stop which may have resulted in a harmless conversation.
TN: Wow. That says a lot. So, I guess they [the newcomers] were very surprised at your actions–way to set the example. I love the fact that you took the time to wrap the gifts. You know it’s the little things that sometimes matter most. What was in the boxes? I’m asking for a friend.
SOT: Haha look at you. You have the game of a true Philly Jawn don't you? We did hats, gloves and Spex of course.
TN: Many times–I know for me, I feel like I get more joy out of giving than receiving. What’s your preference?
SOT: Our gift to someone is not contingent on what we think we will get in return. You dig? That is the blessing . . . giving.
TN: Facts! Such a true statement and sentiment. What an awesome, selfless act. We need more people like you who are willing to step away from their hustle and bustle to be a blessing to others. What are your thoughts on the importance of giving back and philanthropy when you own a business?
SOT: Clearly, we do our business to make a profit, and when that happens, we put some back in the community, it's as simple as that. Giving is truly the backbone of our business.
TN: I know you two well, and you stay with something in the making. Unlike so many people who surround us with their eyes wide shut, y’all stay woke. I peeped the latest photos of the Glaudes sitting on a bench holding the GQ issue with Kaepernick on the cover–that was a nice accessory for a very bold statement. So, what can we expect from Spex of Time in the coming new year?
SOT: So, let's talk about this Kaepernick thing for a second. We have all types of friends, colleagues and strangers that follow us on our personal social media, and we want to be very clear about what side we’ re on. Melissa and I work for two financial powerhouses by day and sometimes our colleagues, clients, think we will straddle the fence to save face. No way, no day . . . but we make bold statements in a classy way.
As for what's next, we can't get into specifics just yet, but ultimately, Spex Of Time will be a full online retailer not limited to just eyewear. So sure! We have several things up our sleeves . . . stay tuned.
TN: Exciting news! You know we want to be the first to know. Well, we along with the rest of your customers can’t wait for the expansion. Thanks for taking the time to chat. It’s always a good time. Sending love and light your way.
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