When Frank Guzman’s grandmother passed away in 2006, he used her memory and the kaleidoscope she left him to start a small business. These memories include moments huddled by a television together, watching cartoons, classic films and listening to old records. Those small moments nurtured Guzman’s creativity and influenced him to appreciate iconic works, such as “Little Shop of Horrors” and translate them into his business, Frankleidoscope.
“I’m very inspired by film, art and music. She always had a good ear and taste for all three,” said Guzman, about his grandmother. “I would definitely say it reflects in Frankleidoscope.”
Now Frankleidoscope, a sunglass line that brings visual stimulations, will be featured during Art Basel at Lester’s Miami in Wynwood on Dec. 8.
Dancers will be dressed as animals wearing the sunglasses, and Guzman will spin tunes as DJ Woozles.
The sunglasses are pieces of art translated into fashion collectibles, he said.
“We made the glasses with love,” said Guzman, 27. “So we’re glad we’re seeing love from the glasses.”
The lenses, with designed art graphics that range from a shark to the solar system, are made with a perforated vinyl that allows those wearing the sunglasses to see through the design. But, they should not be worn when driving because it limits peripheral vision.
“We are a company that enjoys creating things for the love of creating things,” said Guzman.
In the past three months since it started, Frankleidoscope has sold more than 1,800 sunglasses and has also caught the attention of the Miami Art Museum, one of the venues that sells the product.
MAM believes in supporting small businesses and showcasing local designs said Leann Standish, MAM’s deputy director for external affairs.
“We are carrying the Frankleidoscope line of sunglasses because they are locally designed and inherently Miami,” said Standish.
The concepts and designs are created in Guzman’s South Miami home and are manufactured in China.
There are six sunglasses available for purchase. One of them is the Gnome Grown, which has white frames that outline the backdrop of a sky and sprouting mushrooms on the lenses.
Customer Leanne Ortega, who owns the Gnome Grown, said the glasses are attention grabbers anywhere she goes.
“The glasses are art, kind of like a painting,” said Ortega, 20. “I like that it’s original and it all has meaning.”
Only 1,500 of each pair would ever be made, said Guzman, who graduated from Florida International University with a liberal arts degree.
“You won’t grab one of my pairs and say ‘Wow, this is so random,’ ” said Guzman. “All of them make perfect sense.”
Guzman’s vision became reality when Matthew Kowal joined the team.
Kowal works behind the art and mechanics of the products and is considering becoming a joint partner in the venture.
“We’re a Paul McCartney and John Lennon-like team. We work great together,” said Guzman. “Frankleidoscope has come a long way and it pretty much all came together once we started working on it together.”
They pride themselves for the company’s originality and personal customer service by frequently adding free gifts to orders when customers buy the entire set of sunglasses.
When customer Nicholas Hernandez bought all six pairs, he was surprised to find a free custom skateboard deck included in his order.
“It was really nice,’’ said Hernandez, 16. “They treat their customers like family. They advertise not only their products but also artists.”
Artists like Ranses Fundora, more commonly known by his art name “Baker,” has been working with Guzman on the sunglasses since the idea started.
“It’s a dream come true,’’ said Baker, 23. “Sunglasses are just the foot in the door because we got a lot more in store.”
The company has plans to extend the range of products from action figures to bed sheets.
“We want to give people the feeling that they don’t know what will come next from us,” said Guzman. “We’re not afraid of taking risks.”
Guzman’s father said his son had always wanted to transform his creativity into a profession.
“I’m very proud,” said Francisco Guzman, 54. “Ever since he was a kid, he was always coming up with different ideas.”
The sunglasses can be purchased for $19.99 on the website www.frankleidoscope.com, at Nikki’s Beachhouse Boutiques, BC Surf and Sport in Fort Lauderdale, the MAM Store, Sugar Drop Shop and Sweat Records in Miami.
They also soon will be available at Karma Loop online.
Guzman said that his sales have exceeded $30,000 since he started, but money is not his motivation. He does it for the dream to make his imagination come alive—one inspired by his grandmother.
“My grandma inspires my imagination, and this company is about having an imagination, and being an innovator,” said Guzman. “Trying to see what’s next and trying to take the next step without being scared. But sometimes being scared is kind of exciting.”