Member Story: Fellow Earthlings

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The wilds of Prince Edward Island might seem like an unlikely location for an ultra-hip bespoke eyewear factory. But do a little digging in the history books and you’ll soon find that PEI actually had a thriving eye-wear industry in the 1980s. Fellow Earthlings is bringing that tradition back with their own style and flair.

Founded by husband and wife duo Christopher and Sydney Seggie, Fellow Earthlings’ chic eyewear has been spotted on everyone from models to celebrity tattoo artists and even Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and her husband—aka the Prime Minister of Canada.

Founders Sydney and Christopher first got into the eyewear industry through the marketing side of things, both working for the same international company in Hong Kong. As they worked their way up from interns, they started doing more special projects, and with that, a passion was born.

“We had been sourcing some smaller projects through our now mentor who was a master eyewear maker in PEI during the industry boom in the 70s and 80s,” says Christopher. “We realized there was the potential to do more, so that’s what we decided to do.”

As proud Maritimers, they knew they wanted to return to their Atlantic Canadian roots and in 2015, they did just that.

“Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to run a business from pretty much anywhere,” says Christopher. And that includes rural PEI.

“The community support has been really tremendous,” says Christopher. “Even before we had the factory open, the support we received as a young couple who were new to the area was really amazing.”

Because both Sydney and Christopher had spent time living outside of Canada—on paper—their credit history in Canada was essentially non-existent, which presented some challenges when it came to financing their business.

“It was really challenging getting financing from our bank—it all comes down to a math equation. And on paper, we didn’t add up,” says Christopher. “As soon as we started working with the credit union, they were really flexible and candid. Once they understood what we wanted to do, they were supportive and worked with us to help make everything happen. Now, we’re looking to expand to six employees and have the flexibility to take on bigger projects.”

As for what the future holds for Fellow Earthlings, they plan to stay small, but mighty.

“It’s important to us to be a collaborative and flexible workshop so we can take on really interesting projects,” says Christopher. “And our surroundings are a really big part of that. We’re inspired by the scenery here and that’s an important part of our brand. We wouldn’t want to be based anywhere else.”