Meet the Team: Volume 11

Andrew didn’t have a burning desire to be an optometrist, when he started studying in the mid-1990s, but a talent for maths and a family background in medicine drew him towards the profession. Twenty years later, he looks back at the winding path that has taken him around the world and, eventually, to Bailey Nelson Takapuna.

“I graduated in 1998 in Brisbane and I’ve been all over the place since then. I just went here, there and everywhere. I went all around Australia; moved over to Dublin for a couple of years, in Ireland. Then, back to Australia for a while and now over in New Zealand”.

Favourite place to practice? “I really enjoyed working in Dublin because it was a bit different – exotic, y’know”. After years travelling, Andrew and his wife are ready for a more stable pace. “We’ve got two young boys now”, Andrew explains, “That’s forcing us to get a bit settled”.

Takapuna, in Auckland, is a pretty beautiful place to be settled.

“It’s not a typical Australian-type beach with big waves and body surfing, but for central Auckland it’s great. Young families can take walks along the beach, you can go paddle boarding, sunbake”. It’s there that Andrew practices as the optometrist for our Takapuna boutique. “The store is themed around the beach. It’s got natural floorboards reflecting the sand and a blue tone on the ceiling. It’s a lovely little store”.

Yet Andrew was not always as committed to optometry. “Before I heard about Bailey Nelson, I was having a bit of a crisis of passion… To be honest, I was looking around, trying to think of different careers that I could pursue to try to get a bit of passion back into my life." 

“I must admit, a lot of my passion for optometry has been reignited by BN”.

With two young sons, work and family are Andrew’s biggest commitments, but his passion has always been films,  “All aspects of them: watching them, the process that goes into making them and the history behind them”.

In a past life, Andrew and some mates made a film themselves. “I certainly wouldn’t show it to anyone, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to make, that’s for sure”, Andrew laughs.

As an Australian, Andrew loves Lantana – a 90s drama about the underside of suburban Sydney. “Now that I’m here in New Zealand, Peter Jackson features pretty highly”.

“The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a fantastic film. It has increased the scope of New Zealand films around the world”.Andrew isn’t thinking of The Hobbit though. Instead, he loves Jackson’s “really early ones, when he didn’t have big budgets. If you get a chance to watch one, they’re amazing. There’s one called Brain Dead and another one called Bad Taste… There’s more of a comedy element to his splatter films, in the sense that they’re so ridiculously over the top that there’s no sense of realism at all”.

It’s a feeling we understand in a different genre. Australia’s never been known for eyewear before, after all, but with people like Andrew, we’ll get there.

New Home in the Small City

Canberra City

Like a neighbour popping next door for some sugar, we've shifted around the corner in the Canberra Centre. We left our old digs near the food court for a boutique near Coles on the ground floor. It's a pleasure to be in the new space, which features acetate wall tiles (the same material forms most of our frames) and plush chairs. We're open 9-5:30, Monday to Thursday, 9-9 on Friday, 9-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Come say hi!

Meet the Team: Volume Ten

Shub (short for Shubhneet) is the exuberant optometrist at Bailey Nelson Ponsonby. She sat down on a quiet January afternoon to talk with the Journal about adventuring in Auckland and beyond.

Shub Image 1

Shub’s been with Bailey Nelson for just three months, which coincides with her move back to Auckland after a sojourn in Wellington. ‘I’ve got family here so I decided to come back for them. I grew up in Auckland.’

Shub didn’t come back for the city though, and ‘definitely not for the traffic’. ‘It’s more the people’ she says. ‘I love the beaches, though, I think that’s what I missed most when I lived in Wellington; the good hot summer weather’.

Some of Shub’s favourite beaches are a long way from the standard tourist fare. ‘I like the Waitakere Ranges. Even though [the beaches] are black sand, there are great hikes that you can do around there’. For resting on the white sand, Shub suggests Kohimarama, especially because ‘It’s quite close to the [Bailey Nelson] Ponsonby store and there’s a good ice cream shop nearby’. We're especially passionate about the latter.

Shub Image 2Hiking has become a bigger part of Shub’s life since returning. ‘I’ve done the Tongariro Crossing. It’s a 19km hike. I thought it’d be quite flat but it’s literally like climbing a mountain.’ For context, Tongariro is an active volcano. ‘It’s pretty slow going up, but it’s a little bit faster coming down. Your feet hurt from the impact when you’re running downhill though’, Shub says, but there's a payoff: ‘You get to see the Emerald Lakes – they’re beautiful. Although I did it on a cold, rainy day so I’d like to do it on a sunny day so I can enjoy the view of the lakes.’

‘After doing the Tongariro Crossing, that inspired me to do more in terms of hiking and training. I’m training for Round the Bays, it’s an 8.5km run around the Auckland bays. I did it a couple of years ago and the year before that. Now that I’m back in Auckland I’d love to do that and the Colour Run.’

Outside of NZ, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are in Shub’s sights. ‘I think I’d like to go to the Great Wall of China. Or, actually the pyramids!’Shub Image 3

You get the sense that Shub would like to go there with family. ‘My dad’s always like ‘what are your plans, what are you doing’. He’s always someone who has inspired me to do a lot better outside of work… He’s come from a business-y background. I think Dad always wanted to be in the medical profession, but never mentioned it to me. I was just always very science-y, and I wanted to do something to do with science. I also wanted to see patients – that was my goal.’

We’re delighted that we could help Shub make it there. She knows that her parents are proud ‘but I don’t think they say it as much as they should’, she laughs.

Photography by Emily Powell


BN People - ACME

Sydney’s epicurean scene has been through some tumultuous years, but ACME, a restaurant serving Italian Asian fusion dishes, has thrived. We spoke to Ed Loveday, drinks master and the ‘E’ in ACME about how the restaurant came to be and where it’s headed.

ACME Group Photo

The ACME guys seem to go way back. Ed started out in the restaurant business as a bartender, working for the Keystone Group, where he met Andy. ‘He was actually my boss at Cargo [Lounge and Bar] back in 2007. We started managing venues together and decided that we had to open up a bar of our own’.Ed Loveday

‘Andy and I opened the Passage in 2010. Cam, the ‘C’ in ACME, was our bar supervisor at Fringe when we were managing there. The three of us had worked together for a long time so he came and worked with us at Passage’.

‘I met Mitch just from going to the restaurants he was cooking at. One day he sent us a message and was like ‘hey, if you’re ever thinking about opening another venue, let me know’. Two years later, in 2014, ACME opened.

Andy, Cam, Mitch and Ed complete the ACME initials – a working title that became the final name of the restaurant. Ed’s got heaps of rejected names on an old computer somewhere but he’s ‘too embarrassed to dig them up now’.

No matter, ‘ACME’ seems to capture the personality of the restaurant, deeply rooted in its owners’ styles. Take the music: ‘Mitch has always been a big hip hop head. It’s the sort of music that all four of us like, but it’s definitely driven by Mitch’s passion for that style of music’. ‘We’re playing a lot of Future, a lot of Drake’ if it’s late and the restaurant is busy, Ed says. For more chilled out times, the playlist is built around Anderson .Paak, the breezy California rapper and singer. ‘Super vibey’ says Ed.

That balance of atmosphere, food and drink is at the core of Ed’s take on Sydney nightlife. He won’t be drawn on whether things are getting better or worse – ‘I’m not really in the game of making predictions after 2016.’ Plus, as Ed points out, there’s been a lot of negative talk about Sydney and ‘If you fill it all with negativity, everyone is going to move to Melbourne… and there won’t be anyone left to serve.’ Fair enough, but Ed does concede that the days when ‘you could just open a boozer and people would come’ are gone. ‘You really have to have a food component to a business, whether that’s interesting snacks and nibbles to go with your wine or a more substantial offering.’ACME Restaurant

Aside from regulatory changes, Ed sees two reasons for the shift to earlier evening dining: the food culture created by pop media like Masterchef and ‘growing up a bit’. Andy and Ed had been managing bars for a long time, after all.

ACME is in for the long haul though. The menu is constantly shifting, and the team recently opened Bar Brosé in Darlinghurst with Analiese Gregory (‘dynamo chef’). Ed’s not wrong when he says that there’s no time to take his finger of the pulse. It’s a good thing that the team still had time to try on some our newest frames though.

Three Final Questions 

What’s one drink you shouldn’t request?

I don’t want to tell people what to drink or what not to drink, but for the first twelve months at ACME, we didn’t do espresso martinis… I’d spend a week trying to come up with new drink ideas, products and produce. I’d think about flavour combinations and I’d put this menu together, but literally everyone who’d come in would be like ‘two espresso martinis thanks’. I thought, ‘fuck, I should just have made coffee all week and watched a movie or something’. So I reckon, the one drink you shouldn’t order is an espresso martini.
Ed notes that he now serves espresso martinis now, but only as a bit of an inside joke.

One drink you should order?
ACME Front
We spend a lot of time looking for small natural wine producers who are making really great booze. So we pride ourselves on the wine list. In terms of the cocktails, we keep the list pretty small, but it’s always built on seasonal produce.

If you stumbled into Acme today – hot and muggy in Sydney, Ed’s pick is ‘a drink with tequila, mango and cardamom. We’d blend it with a bit of ice to make it a little like a mango margarita, but it’s got that cardamom edge to it’. We’d stumble in pronto for that.

If there were just the four ACME guys stuck on a desert island, who would stay alive the longest and who’d win in a fight?

That’s a very good question and it’s one that I might get in trouble with my other business partners by answering. I’d say that Andy would be able to catch the most seafood. Mitch would be able to cook it the tastiest. I’d be reasonably important because I’d be handling the rationing of the rum and Cam would keep us all entertained. It’d be an even match, I reckon.’

A very diplomatic answer.
ACME is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday and for lunch on Saturdays. More at

Photography by Ben Murphy 


How Not to Lose Your Glasses on NYE

You're on a cruise

It’s hot. The ocean breeze is freshest when you lean just a little bit over the railing. The sunglasses were a bit loose and one gust later, a dolphin is wearing them. You won’t be getting those back.

Come in to any Bailey Nelson over the Christmas period for a free adjustment of your specs. We’ll make sure they’re fitting snug – not too tight, but not too loose.

Harbour Cruise

Blue Mountains

It’s a good day for a hike

There’s barely any haze left over the Blue Mountains and the sun is baring down. You were so sure that you packed your sunnies for this trip, but they’re just not in your bag.

You step out of the tent and… the world cools down as your glasses automatically tint to a soft blue.

Transition lenses, which transform from optical glasses to sunglasses on contact with bright light, are available in almost all Bailey Nelson frames. You can pick up a set at any of our boutiques. 

You wake up. It was a great night, probably

You had your sunnies safely in your bag before this started playing, but then… who knows.
Chalk that one up to an occupational hazard. There are some risks we can’t help with. Swing by your nearest boutique for a new set.

If your health fund resets on December 31, it might not even be a bad thing that you lost your old pair to Corey Hart’s banger: after all, it’s your money or theirs.

The Bondi Guide

Photo: Rachel Dray

Two guys, the Bondi markets – that’s where we begin.

We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to bring Bailey Nelson to locales around Australia and New Zealand, but it’s seriously special to be opening our second boutique in Bondi. To celebrate the upcoming opening of our Bondi Junction store, we put together this guide to the neighbourhood.

Stop 1: Aquabumps

A visit to Bondi isn’t complete without going to Aquabumps – a photo gallery by the sea. Driven by founder Eugene (Uge) Tan’s love for the beach, Aquabumps lets you see the beach in the light of a hundred different sunrises. We’ve been friends with Uge for a long time. Early last year we collaborated on a limited collection of sunnies. The last pairs are still available right here.

Stop 2: The Neighbourhood

Bondi has a reputation as a clean living mecca – the sun and sand will do that, but the clean life isn’t for everyone. If you’re feeling a bit gluttonous (and we all too often are) then the Neighbourhood is the go. You’ll find classic, American-style burgers and fresh oysters. We’d wash it down with a well named cocktail – the 'Dark and Stormy, Bra!' –captures the vibe perfectly.

'Horizon' - Lucy Humphrey - Sculpture by the Sea

Stop 3: Sculpture by the Sea

You can see why the Sculpture by the Sea art festival celebrates the walk from Bondi to Coogee every year – it’s truly sublime. Winding across the clifftops, you’ll get views here like nothing you’ve seen before. It's on annually in October to November.

Stop 4: Lox, Stock and Barrel

Lox, Stock and Barrel has one of the better twists on the phrase since Guy Ritchie’s classic crime thriller. Unlike the movie, you’ll be perfectly safe here – sipping some of the best drinks in Bondi and enjoying Lox’s signature baked goods. Worth a stop.

Want to take a shortcut?

Come visit us at our newly opened Bondi Junction store:
Shop 1018, Level 1, Bondi Junction Westfield
500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022

Style Guide: The Windsor Collection

Forgive the forthcoming history lesson, but we’re really passionate about round metal eyewear.

Invented in 1880, round metal frames remained popular through the early 1900’s. They fell out of favour when celluloid acetate was commercialised until they showed up again as the style of choice on U.S. navy submarines. In contrast to their mid-century military popularity, they were championed by supporters as diverse as John Lennon, Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs throughout the latter half of the 20th century.

Lennon Jobs

The Windsor was an early variant that took the best of both worlds to create a distinctive style – a thin band of acetate wrapped around the metal face of the frame.

So, here’s our update: we’ve recreated two of our favourite frames from this year, the Adler and Theodore, with Windsor rims. Each retains its original steel alloy construction, which shines through the acetate. Our craftsmen have made the acetate as durable as ever, yet only 2mm thin. 

Shop our new Windsor Rim collection here

Big Design Market: Melbourne Edition



We're back at it again this weekend, for the Big Design Market Melbourne.  See you soon! 

Melbourne – The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens

Friday 2 Dec, 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 3 Dec, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 4 Dec, 10:00am – 5:00pm



Meet The Team: Volume 9

Despite its reputation as a sleepy city, Canberra is coming to life. Lonsdale Street has gone from car yards to cafes and we’re doing our bit too. We’ve graduated from a pop-up to a permanent boutique in the Canberra Centre, but more importantly, Annie has taken over the reins as manager. Meet the happiest Canadian in the nation’s capital.

It’s a long way from Canada to Canberra, but Annie ended up here almost by accident. “’ moved here with my family five years ago, but my parents decided to retire to New Zealand. I ended up loving Canberra so much that I settled here. I was fortunate enough to be granted citizenship so I’m staying forever’. Though the city cops a bit of hate, Annie loves how it feels like a small town and a big city wrapped in one. ‘It has all the conveniences of a big city’ she says, ‘but none of the nuisances’. Take traffic. ‘Traffic in Canberra is like five cars at a roundabout’ she laughs, ‘and the community is pretty tight-knit’.

When she’s not at our boutique, Annie’s probably at the gym. ‘You’ll also find me walking around the man-made, yet still sublime Lake Burley Griffin’. It’s named for the architectural couple behind Canberra’s modernist layout. ‘My favourite spot on the lake has to be the new Kingston Foreshore, but my favourite restaurant isn’t there. I live for breakfast because I’m a morning person and there’s this place called Nookie Espresso Bar in Civic. Its coffee and avocado on toast is everything I could want’. We’d recommend you stop by – Nookie is less than five minutes’ walk from Bailey Nelson Canberra.

‘The store is beautiful’, Annie says. ‘The layout is awesome. It’s got a minimalist palette but with a ‘home garden come to life’ feel’. We think it’s fitting for a garden city like Canberra.

Though she’s completely at home in the new boutique, Annie’s only been with us for a month. She’s been in optics a lot longer though. ‘I picked it up as a university job to sustain my online purchasing while I was studying advertising and end up getting stuck in this job that I love’. For Annie, optics is ‘an environment where you can have extended conversations rather than just asking ‘what size are you?’.

But before Bailey Nelson, Annie was considering leaving getting out of optics. ‘I went overseas and found myself, as you do’. ‘I pretty much got my graduation certificate and five days later went to North and South America for an indefinite period of time’. The trip was a chance for Annie to indulge a mischievous streak. ‘I always try to get the tackiest souvenir on the planet for my mother. She can’t throw it out because it was a gift. I got her a Niagara Falls pencil sharpener with a snow globe, even though she’s been there herself. It’s the worst thing on the planet. My dad got some truly shocking socks and he’s going to have to proudly wear them because they were a gift from me’.

So, what tempted Annie back? ‘I was looking for something in my own field, but Bailey Nelson sounded too good to be true. It’s lived up to my expectations though. It’s the kind of job you can go to sleep feeling good about’.

If you happen to be in Canberra, Annie’s always keen to recommend frames. For those further away, she has two picks: the Adler and Scout. ‘I’m biased, because I’m wearing it, but the Alder brings a certain je ne sais quoi to people who can pull it off. The Scout on the other hand is a unisex frame, and it just looks good on everyone who wears it’.


Find out where our Canberra store is located here













Photography by Andy Mullens  





Big Design Market: Sydney Edition

Yeah, there’s something special about markets. It’s where we let our hair down. You can’t have a bad time with so many craftsmen, artists and designers in one place.

We started at the Bondi Markets, up the road from the eponymous beach. It was a breezy spot with a stunning view, but we went inland for our first store.

That was at Paddington, on William Street. Every year we shut the street down for the William Street Festival. We’ve made a lot of friends there. Good tunes and fine specs will do that.


The Big Design Market in Melbourne started in 2012 and we were there. It’s been back every year since and so have we. This year, it’ll be in Sydney too. Since all our specs are designed here, we couldn’t refuse.

We’ll be pulling short run collections from our archives but we don’t like to stand still. We’re sharing our newest drops too. Come find us hanging out with some of Australia’s finest makers in:


Sydney  - The Big Design Market at the Royal Hall of Industries

Friday 25 Nov, 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 26 Nov, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 27 Nov, 10:00am – 5:00pm 

Melbourne – The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens

Friday 2 Dec, 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 3 Dec, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 4 Dec, 10:00am – 5:00pm

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