Vontélle is a female and Black-owned business founded in 2019 to satisfy the demand for better-fitting, vibrant, and fashion-forward eyewear. Tracy Vontélle Green (Co-Founder & CEO) and Nancey Harris (Co-Founder & COO) designed their products with traditional colors and patterns that channel their African, Caribbean, and Latin heritage to pay homage to their respective African ancestries. These designs are tailored to inspire humanity to see the world through a cultural and global lens.
The idea for Vontélle came about when Tracy and Nancey both lost their glasses and decided that their next pair should be from a Black-owned business. However, when they tried to look for brands, they couldn’t find any. They decided to go to an eye expo they found in Paris, and while they saw over 10,000 people at the event, they didn’t see anyone who looked like them. For years, they were also unable to find eyewear that was well-fitted for their faces – many of the brands they encountered were not sized properly, the bridges were not made to fit them, the temples were not long enough and caused headaches, and the glasses would leave indentations. Tracy and Nancey came to realize that this was not a problem they faced alone – there was a clear gap in the market and they wanted to make a difference for all African, Latinx, Asian, and other indigenous communities. Tracy and Nancey are not manufacturers or designers by profession, but decided to embark on a mission to create eyewear that would represent their culture.
Vontélle in French means “there she goes” or “to go”. Their products are meant to empower customers to walk confidently in the world, whether for work or play. Their commitment to celebrate fashionable ethnic eyewear was born out of a need to create designs that were better fitting, durable, bold, and beautiful, as eyewear is a medical necessity and often worn daily. Vontélle fulfills prescriptions and offers custom lens color/tints in any pair of their frames. Based on their research and personal experience, they have concluded that many people wear ill-fitting glasses. Vontélle provides wider bridges for your nose, longer temples for behind the ears, and larger lenses for higher cheekbones to fit comfortably on any face.
They’ve been on this mission for two years (and counting!), and aren’t stopping anytime soon.
In addition to creating transformative products for their customers, the duo is working to address vision health disparities in deserving communities. Each year, they commit a portion of their proceeds to further vision support services for children and families in need.
As a female-owned business in a male-dominated industry, the Vontélle duo faced some challenges when starting their business. First, they needed to find the right manufacturer. After meeting people in Paris on their trip, they came across hundreds of manufacturers, but Nancey and Tracy found that many of them were overcharging, taking advantage of them, and ultimately just didn’t understand their vision. Eventually, after narrowing down their list, they found a manufacturer who was extremely supportive and truly believed in their mission. However, they were soon faced with another set of issues when it came to actually shipping their product.
Prior to using Shippo, the Vontélle team went directly to the post office, but found the process to be very confusing and time-consuming. They tested out other shipping platforms, but found them difficult to use and they didn’t integrate within their e-commerce platform. They needed to find a partner that would integrate with their Shopify platform, support international shipping, and allow them to split shipments and generate return labels with ease.
After doing their research and testing out different shipping solutions, Vontélle turned to Shippo in January 2021 to help them ship – they found Shippo to be the most user-friendly of all the services they tested. “Shipping is always a challenge, but Shippo has really been a savior to us!” said Nancey, Co-Founder & COO of Vontélle. Additionally, out of all the competitors they researched, Shippo also offered the best rates. “After weighing the benefits of what Shippo had to offer, Shippo’s shipping rates were the most competitive. Even Shippo’s annual rates were better than everyone else! It was a no-brainer that Shippo was the one we were going to go with”, shared Nancey.
With Shippo’s seamless integration with Shopify, the Vontélle team is able to easily access their orders. “We get orders everyday, the best part is Shippo is linked to our Shopify so we don’t have to type in any names, the orders are already there”, stated Nancey.
They also found Shippo to be incredibly intuitive, allowing e-commerce business owners to easily track shipments, generate return labels, cancel shipments, and split shipments (pre-orders and current orders) all through the Shippo Web App. “It’s really seamless. I can just login and see when shipments have been delivered, generate return labels, or cancel shipments – it’s all there! It’s intuitive, so the more I play around, the more I’ve learned I can do with Shippo”, stated Tracy, Co-Founder & CEO of Vontélle.
Another vital component to the Vontélle team is that Shippo supports international shipping. International customs processes can be complex, but Shippo makes the process seamless. “I actually reached out to Shippo’s help desk and they were able to help me with international shipments. Now I’ve learned to print customs sheets so we can support our international shipments to the Emirates, Canada, and so many other countries, all thanks to Shippo!”, said Tracy.
After partnering with Shippo, Vontélle has increased their team’s efficiency by 50%. “Before Shippo, we were ordering and printing labels ourselves and waiting in long lines at the post office. Now we just drop and ship. The fact that Shippo is tied directly to our Shopify orders accounts for time saved. Once we enter the client information in the system, it auto-populates and becomes easier when we need it for future use”, shared Nancey.
With Shippo’s carrier connections, the team saved approximately 30% for first class shipping, 36% for priority mail, and 40% for ground shipping as opposed to going directly to the post office. This also includes purchasing insurance for each package!
As Vontélle looks to further expand their business both domestically and internationally, they know they can rely on Shippo to support them every step of the way. “No matter where in the world we ship, delivering globally is really easy with Shippo as our partner. That makes it really easy – we don’t have to go outside for anything, Shippo covers our every need!” stated Nancey.
A Shipping Solution for Businesses of All Sizes
Shippo is a single, easy-to-integrate program that powers everything leading e-commerce brands need for shipping. From a single integration, businesses gain access to over 85+ global shipping carriers. And since all carrier interactions are standardized, Shippo makes it easy for businesses to compare rates and ETAs, print labels, schedule pickups (with USPS and DHL Express), track shipments, facilitate returns, and more across several carriers, all in one place.
Connecting your online store is also fast and easy with Shippo’s pre-built integrations. Shippo can automatically connect with several popular e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, and getting set up can be done in a manner of minutes without the need for any technical developer resources.
You also have options for using Shippo: online through our web application or connected via API. The great thing about these options is that Shippo has the ability to grow with you as your business needs evolve.
For businesses that want to get started right away, the web app is a great solution. And getting started is as easy as opening an account, entering some basic information, and creating your first shipping label. For businesses looking for an even more customizable solution, Shippo’s API is the next step. With Shippo’s developer-centric API, businesses can take their automation efforts even further. Visit Shippo’s API information page to learn more.