Dr. Juliette Nelson is making way for Black women in the eyewear industry with her luxury eyewear brand, NURILENS. With its signature wooden frame and imaginative designs, NURILENS seeks to enrich the lives of all through its quality.

Being of Haitian heritage, Dr. Nelson understands what it means to be a trailblazer. That belief has helped drive her initiative. AfroTech was able to catch up with Dr. Nelson on the heels of Haitian Heritage Month to highlight her vision for this eyewear brand, and to encourage us all accordingly.

On when she decided to create the NURILENS brand

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I decided to create this business when I discovered solutions to filling prescriptions. As someone that wears eyeglasses for vision correction, I knew that I wanted to be able to serve customers with similar vision needs as myself. Once I knew that having an optical laboratory would make this possible, I had a clear path forward.

On what prepared her for entrpreneurship

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Prior to starting on my own journey to founding NURILENS and my other company, JUNURI, I was able to watch my close friends enter the world of entrepreneurship. I also have experience in corporate filing so that also gave me a sneak peek into some of the legal aspects of entrepreneurship.

On challenges faced while getting NURILENS off of the ground

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One of my biggest challenges was getting a full understanding of the eyewear and optical industry. When you’re still on the outside looking to get in, access to data and insight can be limited.

Another challenge was honing in on who my target audience was as compared to who I’d initially anticipated.

Lastly, as a small business, accessing funding of course brought challenges, especially since we launched during the pandemic, which yielded economic strain.

On the influence of her Haitian heritage

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It’s the resilience, persistence, determination, faith, and desire to serve that keep me going as a Haitian woman. I can’t help to think of my ancestors who fought for freedom even when they knew they might not see it themselves.

The fact that generations down the line, including myself, would be able to experience freedom was worth the fight for my ancestors, it makes my walking in purpose all the more meaningful.

Seeing how after gaining its independence, Haiti didn’t keep freedom itself but championed that fight for other countries worldwide, I am constantly reminded that my experiences are bigger than me. They position me to encourage, inspire, and share my lens with others around me, especially through NURILENS.

On her measures of success and the future of NURILENS

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I measure my own success by the baby steps and leaps I am able to take. They align with my purpose of empowering people and creating safe spaces for people to step out as their best authentic selves and live their lives with purpose.

As for growth, the NURILENS team and I are actively working toward adding value to the experience for our customers. We found that for many of our customers, NURILENS is more than just the wooden pair of frames they purchase. It’s also about the experience and value they get from using our products. We’re also working toward educating our community about the importance of eye health. Since having an eye health professional on our team, we realized and acknowledged the need for more awareness surrounding eye health in BIPOC communities.

We will be launching the VISIONURI podcast this month to have those conversations. In the long run, it is my hope that NURILENS grows to be recognized as a brand that sells unique eyewear, and cares for the well-being of the people we serve. 

We want people who purchase NURILENS to see through the lens of their purpose.