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It all began a few years ago in Slovenske Konjice, a small town in Slovenia, where Jaka Jančič, the founder, designer and mastercraftsman of Wood Stock manufacturing, wanted to become a dental technician after finishing elementary school. Taking the acceptance test he received highest marks possible in hand skills. Still until 2011 his life kept Jaka away from creating. »Then I came across some wooden glasses immediately knowing that that was to be my product. I was 30 always longing to form and shape as long as I remembered. I started in my grandma's garage without anything. How to make glasses in the first place?« Jaka spent his days and nights there. The neighbours would laugh at him when woken up by his brushing at 3 a.m. »It took me a year to be satisfied with my first pair. As I am a perfectionist. Yes, I was laughed at first, but after a couple of years some opticians would already contact me. Though I was not ready yet.«

At the same time, exactly when he was satisfied with his first eyewear, Jaka also met Tamara, his present wife, who organized a very successful fashion show for him. Still, Jaka was not entirely pleased with his product. Not yet. Therefore, he was brainstorming day and night how to improve the eyewear to become better and better every day. »Tamara and I decided that this was our way, but before starting a company, we opened a small workshop with the help of my father. There we put our first laser with the rest of real equipment. Now the time has come to become self-employed«, we said to each other. So we did.« A lady from The Employment Bureau was very sceptic, doubting whether we would be able to survive«, Jaka says with a smile adding: »A year and a half ago I was asked to give a lecture there as an example of a good practice.«

It was blood, sweat and tears to find first financing, but they did not see it was right there, under their very nose. Right there and then Tamara,s parents helped them most generously, without any strings tied to. »They still support us in every possible way«, Jaka and Tamara say unanimously expressing their gratitude with their eyes and their voice.
»Then we appeared on a commercial TV and suddenly we were bombarded by the media. Here in Slovenia we were among first to offer the wooden eyewear of really high quality. Other TV stations followed soon, as well as newspapers and media from everywhere. Probably because we were genuine and so enthusiastic. We became more and more recognizable, at present known to anybody, actually«, Tamara says.

Then it was time for a bigger workshop, still in Konjice, 120 square meters, where they often spent the night. And this is the place where their story was brought to life.« We were contacted from the »I feel Slovenia« group – the official travel guide to Slovenia under Slovenian Tourist Board, who were to choose 1 out of 5 Slovenian products, narrowed down from a selection list, to be given as a gift to the most valuable basketball player at the European basketball championship. Finally we came out first. So the famous Tony Parker was the recipient of our glasses made of genuine Slovene wood. Still, he is not the only celebrity to wear Wood Stock glasses today. Many Slovene celebrities do, Anže Kopitar, our famous hockey player and a member of NHL, his father and his brother among others, for example.« Jaka firmly points out that neither celebrities nor anyone else wear wooden glasses. They wear glasses made of wood. Wooden glasses are made in China. What does it mean? It means that they are made with 3-part stamping machines. Wood Stock eyewear, the eyewear made of wood, is made individually, each carefully cut out with laser, then put together, laminated, fashioned, brushed, polished with sand-paper and finally brush-polished, all with my own hands.

The majority of other manufacturers of wooden eyewear around the world try to make as many glasses in the shortest time possible. They use CNC machines, therefore the poor quality and sloppy work. This kind of wooden eyewear casts a shadow upon the eyewear made of wood. All of Wood Stock eyewear is reinforced with my special technique being pliable and solid at the same time. It is up to 60 p.c. finer and lighter, more flexible and compact. Easily glazed. Can be bent to a certain degree, and if dropped onto the floor, it does not get damaged.« Jaka throws one of his glasses made of wood 10 meters away onto the floor right there in front of me. The eyewear is fine, nothing happened. »Any other wooden glasses from the market would fly in all directions. This is why it is generally believed that eyewear made of wood breaks, too and does not wear well.«
»Wood which I use is purchased in Austria, most of it exotic coming from  Africa and South America. I use exotic wood for my eyewear, because of the more pronounced texture and diversity of colours. My eyewear shouts loudly it is made of wood.« This wood is never dyed, with one exception only. »I can proudly say that Wood Stock is the first in the world to make complete glasses of the briar. As far as I know there was just one other item of eyewear, which had been made for Bentley, with a built in miniature part of briar, the size of a few millimetres only. Briar grows in the Mediterranean, on the Apennine Peninsula mostly. Being uninflammable it is explicitly used in pipe making. At Wood Stock we use its root which is a few times more expensive than the rest of it. This is the only wood which is dyed, any other wood used at Wood Stock remains authentic.« Jaka uses walnut root, pearwood, cherrywood, and plumwood, all deriving from Slovenia. From the Sava river in Serbia  wood from a fossil oak, about 4000 years old somehow roamed into Jaka's workshop. »Tamara and I found it with the help of our friend, the same way as nice things would happen in a life «, Jaka says with a glitter in his eyes. »I love using wood from something that has seen better days, and I can still skilfully make a useful artistic item. It can be an old ski, a butt end of a rifle or a stave. Good old macerated wood!«

The whole range of Wood Stock eyewear, i.e. prescription glasses as well as sunglasses are glazed with lenses manufactured in Hoya, a Japanese company »who are toplevel in the world«, Jaka says continuing: »We work with the Japanese, because they are the only manufacturer in the world with a 3-year warranty on the quality for the anti-reflex lenses. As a basis each lens is polarized with an extra anti-reflex coating at the back side of a lens. They are all certified, too.
And a design and a shape? »There are basic directions, of course« Jaka explains, »common classics like the Ray Ban cult aviator is taken over by other manufacturers, too. It means that we copy classics, each manufacturer in their special way. At Wood Stock for example, we place our hope in elegance and beauty.« A part of Jaka's supply of Wood Stock eyewear arises from classics, though a great many other types of prescription glasses and sunglasses are his own creation springing up day and night. »When creating eyewear you must not hurry. Nothing is fine if hastily made or when made too soon. It does not carry the right energy either. Each of my eyewear has been carefully studied and freshly made from the start«. In our boutique shop on Copova Street in Ljubljana, Slovenia you can get  standardized glasses that are extremely pleasant to wear due to their spring hindges. They are pliable and can be adjusted to  any face inspite of rigidity of wood. Anyway, we are also known to manufacture  custom-made eyewear according to a customer's requests and measurement. It also means that a customer can pick their own type of wood or a combination of different types, and the colour of lenses. If you come up with your own idea of eyewear, we will make it for you. And what happens if your glasses break? No big deal. In case of a mishap your glasses will be taken in willingly to be repaired
In May of 2016 we opened a newly refurbished boutique shop on Copova Street in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where we have daringly designed glasses on the shelves. »We reached a phase«, Jaka explains »which pointed at a huge potential of our development in eyewear, the potential of a« limited edition« and uniqueness. Being busy to run the company and concentrated on the product itself, Tamara and myself realized it is of vital importance to have a strategic partner who will know how to place the product around the world. We have been faced with difficulties in our business for the last five years. There were also certain »would-be« friends turning out to be hypocritical or worse. At the same time we found out that working with all your heart, honesty, patience and endurance sooner or later paves and clears the way for the right people. So we did meet the exceptional Jago Stemberger who became our equal partner and is about to open the door to the world. Jago fell in love with Wood Stock immediately. Tamara points out:«It is our vision of Wood Stock to remain a boutique shop, never to aim at a mass production ever. It will be people, always people with their skilful hands playing the key role in our story. With an increase in our capacity there will be more employees. Creative people are most essential and not just for Wood Stock, they are important for every project with a soul. This also applies to everyone with our eyewear.«

So the vision of Wood Stock is to keep top-notch, as for the survey it is among the best already, if not the very best in the world. Jaka's creativeness is endless obviously, the same goes for Tamara,s diligence, support and patience. Every man, if an artist especially, needs a great deal of love as you know. Everybody wearing Wood Stock eyewear can feel it. »They are completely attached to their glasses reestablishing a special relationship as soon as they are theirs. This kind of attachment is not common with any other eyewear«, Tamara says adding:«The pleasure is all ours!«

• Special thanks to Borut Omerzel •