Our mission

We believe that everyone should have access to beautifully designed and manufactured eyewear.

How it started

In December 2018 Ashton Riley Eyewear was launched. It was the result of a year’s design and manufacturing work.
After almost 20 years in the eyewear market, I felt there was a place for a brand that delivered better quality frames at a price everyone could afford.
Having worked for 15 years alongside creative fashion eyewear designers, whilst analysing sales data for 20 million pairs of glasses and sunglasses, I knew what consumers wanted from their eyewear. Everyday fashion, quality materials, precision manufacturing and fantastic value for money.
I took this knowledge and combined it with the long-standing manufacturing relationships I had developed, enabling Ashton Riley optical frames to be created. Manufactured to the designs and specifications I knew consumers wanted. Then delivered to opticians at a price that meant they could offer their patients fantastic value.

Why Ashton Riley
and why the gorilla?

Ashton Riley, my sons first and middle names. I might be biased but I like the name and certainly felt it had a better ring to it than Brett Eyewear or Waugh Optical.
I wanted to create a brand I am as proud of as I am my own children and that they would be delighted to have their name on. I design, test and inspect all the styles to ensure they live up to the high standards my kids and I expect.

As a family business and brand, we wanted the logo to be connected to us as much as possible. As this brand bears Ashton’s name, it was only right he have an input. His favourite animals are monkeys and apes. Gorillas are intelligent, protective, creative and strong. A formidable combination. These attributes are reflected in our eyewear and the way we do business. It felt like a natural fit.

Who am I?

I’m Brett Waugh. Remarkably I started working in eyewear accidentally. I was recruited by an eyewear company called Fabris Lane in 2001, working in their IT and Customer Services department. I enjoyed working in IT as it is predominantly problem solving. Though soon found uses for these skills in other parts of the business. Over 15 years at the company I worked in almost all aspects of the business: customer service, product development, sales analysis, logistics and sales.

I was Sales Director when Fabris Lane was bought by Essilor. The company was merged with FGXi and after a short time I was promoted to Commercial Director for the combined company. Overseeing a huge amount of business, a varied team, a wide range of eyewear product types and an equally wide variety of customers. This experience and an exciting 18-month spell at Red Eyewear solidified my desire to create my own products and service a part of the eyewear market I felt deserved better.

Happy 5th birthday Ashton Riley

December 2023 is the 5th anniversary of Ashton Riley Eyewear.
The brand has been stocked in over 600 opticians, thousands of frames and sunglasses have been sold to opticians and dispensed to patients all over the UK. There are huge plans for the brand over the next 5 years.


The eyewear

The simple aim was to produce premium optical frames and sunglasses at a price that was accessible to everyone. My long term relationships with factories ensured we could get precision manufacturing using quality materials at a price others in the market couldn’t. Combined with the “everyday style” designs, we were able to create fantastic frames that were received brilliantly by opticians from the very start.

My belief in collaborative relationships rather than transactional ones opened the dialogue with opticians about what new products they wanted to see in the collection. We added more colour, additional sizes, titanium, rimless, polarised sunglasses and petite frames. All inspired by our optician partners. I have said it many times, I am not trying to build a brand that is a vanity project. I want a brand that patients can afford without compromising on quality or style. Everyone deserves great eyewear.

In recognition of the British influence of the Ashton Riley collection, both in terms of my own experience, but also in terms of the opticians that have helped shape the collection with years of feedback, all the frames are named after places in the UK. Many named following special request from opticians themselves.

Relyks by Ashton Riley

Having had success with Ashton Riley I wanted to add another product to our offering. One that featured the highest quality materials, details, features and craftsmanship. Frames that would stand the test of time both in terms of quality, durability and style. It needed to be clear that these frames were different to the rest of the Ashton Riley collection, meaning a new name was required.

Having used up one child’s name to create Ashton Riley, it seemed most fitting to look close to home once again. I wanted to use my daughters name but was conscious that a unisex brand may struggle with a female name. Which lead me to reverse her name Skyler to make Relyks. I’m shocked and a little embarrassed at how long it took me to realise her name spelled Relyks backwards. However, it was perfect. It captured the high quality, enduring style and timeless nature of the products I had designed.

Within the logo we used a chalice for the Y. Linking to the theme for the first collection. All the frames were named after a famous British legend. That of King Arthur and Camelot, who infamously sought the Holy Grail.

Ashton Riley Eyecare

In August 2021, I opened an optical practice to showcase the collection of frames and to learn first hand what patients needed from their eyewear. The unfiltered feedback from consumers was amazing. It added to the feedback from opticians, giving me more information with which to create new designs. It was a unique opportunity to see how different patients viewed their glasses or sunglasses and the varied needs of each person.

The growth

In November 2022 the Ashton Riley team was joined by 3 new shareholders. All qualified dispensing opticians, with decades of experience delivering eyewear to patients. Nicos, Antonios and Marios, owners of two successful independent optical practices brought new insights, energy and excitement to Ashton Riley.

Their experience in running practices helped move Ashton Riley Eyecare forward quickly. Their love for eyewear and patient care has added another dimension to the business. Having more first hand experience of patient needs has made in immediate impact on the new frames we have released.

The future

We have lots of new frame designs and colour combinations in production and ready to bring to market.

Beyond that we look forward to continuing to collaborate with opticians to ensure we deliver eyewear they and their patients need.

Become part of the story

Invite Ashton Riley Eyewear into your practice today, give us your feedback. Help shape the next iteration of Ashton Riley Eyewear.