After observing that many women use their sunglasses as a headband throughout the day, including herself, Lila Baltman came up with an idea: “Why don’t I turn sunglasses into a fashionable accessory?”
Since she always enjoyed looking at the variety of fabrics at Jo-Ann fabric and craft stores, she decided to cover pairs of sunglasses with different fabrics and turn them into headbands. The problem? She didn’t know how to sew.
She began pitching her idea – which she calls Hairglasses – to seamstresses in the Valley, but none were interested. Then about six months ago, she found Mazal Uvaydov, who has been a seamstress for about three decades and owns Camelback Tailoring & Alterations in Phoenix.
Uvaydov agreed to work with Baltman and test out a prototype. She told Baltman to leave the sunglasses and fabric with her to see if she could create a pattern that worked. “About a month later, she calls me and says, ‘I got it,’ ” Baltman recalls.
Baltman launched a website this past June, hairglasses.com, using her mom and friends as the models.
Baltman purchases the sunglasses in bulk and selects the fabric. Then, Uvaydov sews the fabric on the glasses by hand. They’ve tried different types of fabric and different styles of sunglasses to see what works best; currently there are 10 designs.
Baltman prefers the neutral colors for herself, but many of the colorful designs are geared to tweens and teens.
“They are flair for your hair,” she says. “The fun is in the fabric.”
By day, Baltman, 44, is a publicist and owner of Lila Rose Baltman Public Relations. “I’ve always wanted my own fun, unique product to market and publicize,” she says. She is also the mother of two sons and a daughter, ages 16, 14 and 9.
The glasses are currently designed for girls ages 11 and older since they are too large for younger girls, although her 9-year-old daughter has requested a “Hello, Kitty” version. Although she has not actively pursued any licensing agreements yet, Baltman would like to develop partnerships to be able to do so, anticipating future designs including animated characters or college logos. “The options for fabric are endless,” she says.
She also thinks Hairglasses would be a great party favor for bat mitzvah parties or bachelorette parties. Her niece also found another use for them – she used them to cover her eyes when she napped during an airline flight.
They are not meant to function as sunglasses, Baltman warns.
One benefit of the Hairglasses over a regular headband is that they don’t pinch, Baltman says, noting that she often developed headaches from wearing headbands. “Oftentimes, I’ve worn sunglasses as headbands because they keep the hair off my face and they don’t hurt.” Hairglasses also don’t flatten the hair, she notes.
“These Hairglasses are really beautiful hairbands for women,” says Uvaydov, who is a member of Ahavat Israel Congregation in Phoenix. “I love that Orthodox women can enjoy wearing them as well because they can easily be worn on top of a sheitel.”
Hairglasses are available for $19 each, which includes shipping, at hairglasses.com and at Camelback Tailoring & Alterations. Baltman will also have a booth at the Temple Chai vendor fair, which will be held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.
Baltman says her number one goal is to get her Hairglasses into Claire’s accessory stores in every mall. “I’m really excited about the fact that I’m not seeing anything like this.”