Once upon a time, a man named Chris Erven walked into a bar and hit on a woman who had a boyfriend. That woman introduced CJ Thomason (her then boyfriend, now a friend) to the guy who hit on her (ahem, Chris Erven). Little did they know at the time, that this magical yet awkward moment would lead to a beautiful friendship, and a super awesome eyewear brand named Sire’s Crown qv.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough that Chris Erven didn’t screen my call when I had old-fashioned-telephoned-him to introduce myself. It was a brief hello (he was on the other line with a client), but after the emailing back and forth, it was easy to see that these guys were not only businessmen, but businessmen who enjoyed their work. Don’t you just love that?
Check out our little Q&A sesh to learn how Chris and CJ make the magic happen.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Springfield, Missouri and CJ in San Angelo,Texas.
Where do you live now? How long have you been here?
Culver City for 2 years, CJ on a boat in the Marina for 2 years.
What was the inspiration to start Sires Crown?
I would always tell CJ that I wanted to start my own line of frames, so he thought with my optical background and his knowledge of wood we could make something special.
I have 15 years experience as an optician and 9 years in design.
What does Sires Crown mean? Is there a story behind the name?
We came up with the name Sire’s Crown q.v. because we wanted the name to be like American Royalty. The q.v. abbreviation after Sire’s Crown is Latin for quod vide and translates to “of sight or which see” so we think of our frames as modern day crowns. After all your crown represents your thrown.
How long have you and CJ been working together?
CJ and I have been working on this project for 6 years.
Describe your roll at Sires Crown.
I design the frames and fill the RX’s and CJ is the craftsman although we both wear a million hats. CJ and his wife did all the work on the website and do more developmental aspect where I do most of the selling to larger accounts.
Do you wear glasses?
I am super near sighted and require specs full time whereas CJ uses them for shades only.
Tell us about your involvement with Trees For the Future.
For each frame we sell we donate to Trees for the Future. For every frame sold at the wholesale level, we have 20 trees planted and for retail sales we have up to 100 trees planted.
Can you describe the process of making one pair of frames?
There are many different facets in manufacturing our frames. We have Mazzuchelli imported from Italy (cotton fiber/wood pulp) substrated and we have those cut down to our designs. Then we have the OBE hinges imported from Switzerland. After our frames are cut down we apply a wood veneer to the eco substrate and hand sand and finish them in our loft downtown. We tried solid wood frames for several years but were unhappy with the durability.
What’s your favorite part about it?
My favorite aspect of the process is finishing a frame as it looks raw before sanding and finishing it. Afterwards they come to life and ALL look incredibly beautiful.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in L.A.?
The Little Door although I have not eaten there in a while because it’s kinda pricey.
What’s your least favorite thing about L.A.?
Traffic stinks here but I’m super excited about the subway opening up in Culver City a mile from where I live!!
Top 3 things you can’t live without.
My peeps (family and friends), my macbook, and internet porn. Just kidding on the last part. My eyeglasses because I’m blinder than a bat.
Favorite TV show at the moment?
With an 18 month old I don’t really have time to watch TV. CJ just said his is Game of Thrones.
Most inspiring website or blog?
Any hobbies besides making sweet frames?
While the frames are curing we like to hit a few games of ping pong. I am pretty much like Forrest Gump.