Sires Crown and NYCC

Sires Crown and NYCC: Feeling Conned After the Con

Featured Reviews

Sires Crown and NYCC

Sometimes, we want to love a thing. After all, we’re geeks; we’re passionate. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a geek girl, it’s that my external presentation is part of my identity. It sounds shallow that how I look would be tied to my sense of identity, but, let’s be honest, all those nerdy clothing companies wouldn’t be making money if it wasn’t true. So, as someone who’s worn glasses since she was 8 years old, coming across Sire’s Crown at NYCC in 2014 felt like a dream come true.

Until it became a nightmare.

Who Is Sire’s Crown?

Sire’s Crown is a chic eyewear company with handmade wood frames. However, their big “sell” is the comic book frames that they hawk at the conventions.

When I first saw these eyeglasses, I fell in love. It was love at first sight. Do you remember that feeling you got in your stomach when you met your first love? That feeling tingle of excitement mixed with obsession? That feeling.

For the four days I spent at NYCC 2014, I thought about these glasses. We were in a financial crunch. We didn’t really have the money for me to buy new glasses.

But I really, really wanted them. Finally, on Sunday, I went back and made the purchase.

Strike One: Getting the Glasses

In 2014, Sire’s Crown was a small eight-person company. The comics glasses were new. They weren’t prepared for the vast number of nerd purchases at NYCC.

The glasses that they said would take three weeks took six.

Ok, that’s fine. Things happen. (And, in their defense, when I gave them a second chance to prove themselves three years later, the order did come faster.)

Strike Two: Your Body pH Is Problematic

All right, so here’s the breakdown (literally). In less than three months, I noticed that the comic book graphics had degraded. By this, I mean that the comic book parts were peeling off the frames and looking tattered.

I’m all for shabby chic in furniture, but when my eyewear that lives on my face is looking pretty gross, I get upset. Also, as someone who’s worn glasses for 32 years, I’ve never had them fall apart that quickly, particularly not when they were over $100 with the “convention discount.”

As I said, we were strapped for cash at the time. I emailed the company about them falling apart. After waiting a few days, I texted the number of my contact. The Sires response?

sires crown and nycc

If I were an actual cartoon character, I’d have done a spit take right about there. I’ve worn classes for 32 years and never, ever has that been a response to a problem with frames. Not once.

What ensued was an ongoing every-six-weeks back and forth where the glasses would degrade, then I’d send them back, then Sire’s Crown would “fix” them, and then send them back. At one point, my kiddo and I won a lottery to be on The Today Show and see the Avengers cast in person. Knowing I was going to be on national television, at a point during which the glasses had degraded again (this was the second round), I tried to explain that I didn’t want to look terrible on national television wearing their glasses.

SIre’s Crown managed, after several emails and texts back and forth, a different frame and new lenses to wear.

Because, yes, every time the frames fell apart, I had to revert to outdated lenses because I didn’t have a backup pair.

Fool Me Once…

And yet, I loved the frames. I loved the compliments because they were unique. They were an external expression of everything I love about being a geek.

I waited three years to get another eye exam because I loved the idea of these frames so much.

However, as any glasses-wearing-person-with-terrible-eyesight knows, after a while, you start to get headaches from outdated prescriptions. Lenses start to get scratched. It’s a thing.

At every turn with the first pair, Sire’s Crown told me they were trying new ways to make the glasses. As a small business owner myself, I decided to support another small business and give them a second chance.

It was a terrible life decision.

Fool Me Twice…

Look, I know not every company that makes geeky products is a geek. I’m not a gatekeeper because I’m not hardcore about much. When I went to NYCC 2017, I slinked to the Sires booth. I needed new frames. I needed new lenses.

I wanted geeky glasses.

Perusing the line, I found a pair that I liked—a Batgirl pair.

I really, really wanted the Batgirl pair.

But, I looked at them and realized, “Oh lord. She’s conspicuously putting on makeup. Dear sweet fancy goodness, that’s the opposite of what a geek girl wants.”

At this point, I realized that the company is not clued into geek girl culture at all.

But, of course, Karen, thy name is vanity. I gently informed them that having a primary female geek heroine putting on makeup as the frame’s primary image was antithetical to most of the female geek culture. Look, I don’t mind being prosocial.

After a brief consultation, I realized they had a She-Hulk print. Although much of the art included a hyper-sexualized boobtastical She-Hulk and no Jennifer Walters, I still gave in to my desire to represent my geek identity on my face.

This time, however, the glasses had less comic print on them, avoiding the high pH areas of the nose and around the eyes. The art was limited to the frames’ arms and the top of the frames near the eyebrows.

Arriving two weeks later, I promptly social-media’d my new look. I felt confident that the two years of production had increased the quality and process.

Strike Three: You’re Out

Elated, I wore the glasses like one does when they only have a single pair. Every day. Although garnering fewer compliments than the first pair, these made me feel like a superheroine.

Until, by June, I noticed that the art began peeling. Again.

When I contacted Sires Crown, the response was:

Look, y’all, I’ve had a variety of glasses in my 32 years of wearing frames. Not once has my hair been the problem.

Once more, they offered to fix them if I sent them back, waited for the repairs, and have them returned. Once again, I pointed out that I have really bad eyesight and only one pair of glasses.

sires crown and NYCC

I used some black Sharpie to cover up the white, buckled paper then slathered them with a bit of clear polish. I promised myself I’d never buy another pair. I don’t have long hair. Both sides of my head are shaved—basically a Mohawk haircut. My hair is only a small part of the quality issue.

In July, we got caught in a crazy rainstorm. Out of the blue, in the middle of an outdoor concert, the skies opened up a deluge. As we ran to the car, the pelting rain soaked us. All of us—husband, child, dogs—looked like we had just stepped out of the shower.

And two weeks later, I noticed that the glasses had gotten worse. The sides of one earpiece peeled in huge chunks. The front began to peel off.

My glasses had, for all intents and purposes, fallen apart because I wash my hair and got caught in a rainstorm—all within 10 months.

Protecting My People

I love geeks. I love my people. I hate writing negative things about companies, especially small businesses.

As far as I’m concerned, however, a company that creates a product specifically geared to geeks that causes us more strife isn’t a product I can support.

Moreover, everywhere I look, they have a 5-star rating. Go ahead. Google Sires Crown Review.

The wood frames hold up well. They’re beautifully crafted, and even my high-end upper-middle-class suburb eyewear store loves that part.

However, the comic book glasses are nothing more than attempting to prey upon geeks. I didn’t buy these frames because they were beautiful wood. I bought them because they aligned with my identity. I bought them because I’m a geek who wanted to proudly wave her geek flag.

And when the geekiness failed, Sires Crown blamed me. My body (of all things to tell a woman?!) was the problem. My hair (again, really?) was the problem. A rainstorm isn’t related to me, not personally.

I thought long and hard about whether I should write this post. I reached out to GeekMoms and GeekDads about whether this was the right thing to do. I hate feeling like I’m betraying a small company brethren.

And yet…

Sires Crown specifically attends international comic conventions to sell their product, relying on us geeks to help support them.

And they are going to be at NYCC 2018.

When I saw that, I realized remaining quiet made me complicit in this con at the Con. I can’t be Jefferson (“I am complicit in watching him grabbing at power and kissin’ it”). I can’t just stand by watching a company that doesn’t understand the problems that exist in our community then sell us something because they are the only company offering it.

Sires Crown at NYCC

This year, they don’t get another chance. This year, I’m going to share my experience. This year, don’t buy the Sires Crown comic book glasses. When I go to NYCC this year, I’m proudly wearing new glasses—ones not made by Sires Crown.

They’re preying upon the geek desire to wave our Geek Flag. They want us to see something we can’t find elsewhere. They want us to succumb to their ability to serve our niche. They don’t serve it.

But for now, Sires Crown, you are the Cersei of glasses. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Liked it? Take a second to support Karen Walsh on Patreon!

12 thoughts on “Sires Crown and NYCC: Feeling Conned After the Con

  1. Well stated and we truly love hearing from our clients always in any form. We also know that no matter how many issues we solve from a custom eyewear standpoint selling prescription glasses in a completely new way, we will never solve all issues except to serve our client to the best of our abilities. We care… I promise. But you can wear whatever eyewear you want but good luck finding someone who cares to represent their clients more. Eyewear has to fit the face perfectly through about 10 different variables before you calculate prescription for vision before you concern yourself with “cool style” or “colors that work”. We do that and we endeavor to always offer colors & materials expressing our client.

    To call us Cersei means we perfectly calculated ourselves to cause your despair… I’m sorry you break down your frame. I’m sorry in our almost infinite capabilities we couldn’t find someway to make you happy outside of comicbooks and that we’re instead having this, sad but interesting, exchange. I’m even more sorry that you don’t see us as Ned… but hey Ned was publicly executed so I should have seen this coming at some point.

  2. and I’d like to add there are people who will break down precious metals and it has not stopped nickel, or silver, or gold from being used. There is literally a chemistry reaction for some people but we have workarounds for our clients if this is the case which is about 8% of my clients… but again we have TONS of workarounds if thats the case + always working on new ways.

  3. My daughter saved up and got some comic print glasses as well. She also had them delaminate within a few weeks. We were told it was the result of a new coating process and that they were going back to the old method. Many weeks later and the cost of shipping, she got them back only to have it happen again shortly after. I don’t want to send them back for yet another repair knowing it is futile. Another unsatisfied customer.

    Glasses go on a face. If the material can’t handle being on a face and what that entails, it’s obviously not fit for purpose.

    1. I’m letting you know we would not sell this product if that was the case. I understand if you’re not interested in a repair but I can’t perfect the product if I can’t inspect the problem. Please reach out.

  4. Salut

    I sit on the other side of the fence with regard to the service I have received from Sires Eyewear.

    I met with the company at their booth at a comic con in Australia, and upon perusing the range, I knew that the product was exactly what I was after. I am a pop culture historian who uses the glasses during my keynotes as well as my lectures to my students.

    I have corresponded with CJ and other staff during the past three years re service, and have received prompt responses to my inquiry.

    I recently ordered a second set of comic eyewear with a new design which I wait with great anticipation!

    Best wishes to all!

  5. I bought my Sires Crown glass at that same 2014 NYCC. I got Incredible Hulk ones that are mostly a bold yellow, but with a bunch of other colors. I also hesitated to make the purchase, but I realize that glasses are the one piece of jewelry you wear every day. They’re actually a lot less expensive than other jewelry and much more part of your “brand.” So, now I don’t feel weird for spending $350 on them. They’re really a bargain compared to a necklace, ring or watch.

    I also had a serious de-lamination problem. Pretty quickly. I also went through the emotion of disappointment and not wanting to admit that this wonderful thing that strangers kept stopping me to complaint, might not be something that would work out long-term. I wrote and got the same response about the process being “fixed.” They replaced my glasses for free, quite quickly. The same problem happened after a while. I tried wearing them only for occasions where I was out to preserve them. That actually worked pretty well. Well enough that when I lost the glasses, I bought an identical pair. Much to my amazement the new pair holds up well. Like really well. I don’t know what changed, but I’ve had these for about two years, and I wear them all the time. There’s only minimal damage, as you would expect from anything you put through rough daily wear.

    As far as their comic book designs, note that they will put any comic you want on them. You don’t have to settle for the stock decorations that might sell well, but aren’t as aware of the zeitgeist as you might expect. My wife and friends are not artists. But they picked out some comic images they thought would be cool (Jaws, Star Wars, Dr Who and Stargate). They had Skype sessions with the Sires artists, who designed proof layouts that were really cool. The artists knew where to put the elements so they would be visible, nicely balanced with symmetry and color, and let my friends tweak the proofs. The results were really good and extremely personalized–especially given the decent price. Like any glasses, the lens options can add up.

    Strangers still ask me about my Hulk glasses. It’s amazing how many “secret” geeks are out there. A crazy number of my friends have gotten comic book glasses now. They’re had much more luck. One of the had a delaminiation problem earlier on (like you and me), but her more recent ones have been reliable. I guess that the comic book glasses are probably less rugged than normal glasses, especially if you have certain skin or expose them to certain chemicals (I know that sunscreen wrecks a lot of things–like my swatches). So even though they’re not “rugged” per se, I do think they’re like suede shoes or something–you have to be a little careful compared to some other materials. I’m pretty happy with my current pair. I don’t feel disappointed any longer. I wear them every day–but not if I’m going to the beach. I do probably treat them a little more carefully than I did with my “normal” glasses. But I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

    I agree with all your assessments. They had a product that didn’t wear as well as it needed to. But they did a lot of free replacements to make it right. That must have really hurt their bottom line. But they did it anyway. I think that’s pretty decent. I think the glasses are much improved now. I don’t think they’re selling something that’s inferior as a “con” at these cons. I don’t think they’re “preying” on us. But you do. I get it. You’ve been patient and forgiving and that’s all you can do. I’m glad my experience has had a happier ending.

  6. Exact same. I got the Maleficent pair and by God I love them. But I paid SO MUCH, and like the author I too wear one pair of glasses. I was promised 3-6 weeks – it took 4 months. 4. Months. I had to BEG for updates. Finally they come and I wear them everyday. The peeling started about a month in. That’s also when I dropped them 1 foot onto cement.

    Immediate pockmarks. Polycarbonate lenses, big pockmarks from a short fall? So I email them about it. Good news, the lifetime warranty is only two years and they’ll fix it but don’t send them right now because they’re moving and are worried they will lose my glasses..

    Ugh. Feeling so suckered. For so much money!!!

  7. Hey everyone,

    Thank you for being the one place online where an active discussion is still ongoing. After paying for a pair of glasses late last year ‘Maybe December’s I noticed that I hadn’t received any emails with updates. After the third contact attempt in March emails started to bounce back, Google voice numbers were disconnected and now today the Website is down. Not sure how many other people ordered glasses that won’t be delivered but I wanted to reach out to let you know you’re sadly not alone. I reached out to Square who at this stage were not helpful. File a dispute with your CC / Bank for now. I’m hoping that the Sides team eventually reaches out but who knows.

    1. Typo city. I’m sorry. It’s early…
      My first pair of glasses from them are still holding up but they are ‘do something different’ glasses and not worn everyday. I really enjoyed the process and the product. So it’s a shame that my 2nd order is going down like this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *