Patti Lee-Hoffman and Gayle Haworth offer “readers” that women can wear in public

by Linda Hubbard on October 29, 2012

There comes a time in most women’s lives where a pair of arms just don’t extend long enough to read a newspaper/iPad. The inevitable can no longer be put off — it’s time for a pair of “readers”.

That time came to local residents Patti Lee-Hoffman and Gayle Haworth, who’d first met years ago early in their careers. Patti worked for a consulting company while Gayle pursed a career in biotech.

You could say they reconnected over the frustration of not being able to find reading glasses that are both attractive and functional. This prompted them to start their joint venture, Flutter Eyewear, last October. More recently they began selling “readers” online via the company website.

What makes their site distinct is that shoppers can try on the glasses virtually. “We combined a bit of low tech with high tech,” explained Gayle. “Shoppers can use our paper doll feature to figure out what glasses work best or  upload their photo and see how different frames look on their face.”

Added Patti: “Once you try on glasses, you can then post on Facebook and ask your friends what they think is the best frame for you.”

Currently they’re offering about 65 different frames, with styles and shapes, they promise, to fit every face. There’s also a chart you can print to determine the degree of magnification.  “All of our glasses are created by a designer in Southern California,” said Gayle. “We don’t want them to look in any way like the granny glasses you can find at the drug store. These are readers you want to be seen in.”

In addition, to reading glasses, shoppers can also purchase sunglasses and accessories. Because the Flutter owners are also passionate about dogs, they will donate $.50 to Canine Companions for Independence, up to a total of $50,000 in donations, for every pair of glasses they sell.

Both Patti and Gayle are interested in getting feedback about their selection of glasses as well as the online shopping experience. “We had a series of  ‘parties’ where we got input from hundreds of people,” said Gayle. “Our goal is to offer glasses that really look good on women, so let us know what you think.”


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