IOLLA, the Glasgow eyewear company that is shaking up the optical industry, has as many employees as its founder, Stefan Hunter’s, age: 28. However, this summer, when Iolla, which means sight in Gaelic, opens a new showroom on Glasgow’s West George Street, the numbers shall diverge. The new outlet joins showrooms in Finnieston and Stockbridge in Edinburgh and pushes staff levels to 35-40.

“It’s a much bigger statement for us because it’s a bigger unit,” says Mr Hunter, who founded Iolla in 2015, pretty much straight out of university. “It has a lot more experiential brand touch points.”

These include information about the company’s social purpose, which is part of its raison d’être, and the community it is trying to build with its customers. It is all part of a brand that is quintessentially millennial. Not only does Iolla have an ethical component, committing to paying at least the national living wage to all employees and supporting Orbis, an organisation that gives communities across the world access to quality eye care, it also seeks to turn an unravishing experience – buying specs – into one that is enjoyable and kind of groovy.

Mr Hunter began researching the optical industry in his final year of business studies at Strathclyde University. When working on a module on venture management in practice, he was put in touch with Brian McGuire, director of eyecare specialists Visioncall and former Specsavers franchisee, who ultimately invested seed money in Iolla and is a director of the company.

“We spoke to hundreds of people and asked them to explain to us how they felt about buying glasses,” says Mr Hunter.

Three themes emerged: expensive, not enjoyable and linked to a sterile, healthcare environment. And so Iolla, which doesn’t do eye tests, was born, offering a range of funky frames in outlets with a boutique feel at two affordable price points: £65 for single vision lenses and £125 for varifocals.

“It comes back to our values,” says Mr Hunter. “We want to be accessible to most people.”

He himself does not have a background in optics, which he believes helped him find the right formula. The company started small, selling a range of wire-framed glasses from a suitcase, but within months had opened the Finnieston outlet.

“I went brash, entrepreneurial into the market, asking what we could do to disrupt it, which is what tends to happen when you’re not engrained in something,” says Mr Hunter.

He also cawed canny, spending as little as possible in the early days. He learnt how to code and design eyewear, as he experimented with different sales models.

“We went through a process of customer discovery and validation, and that said to us that this was a game worth playing,” he says.

Today, Iolla sells 400-600 frames a week. Mr Hunter still creates the designs from the company’s headquarters in Cambuslang, where the glasses are assembled. The frames are manufactured in Shenzhen, the lens by “a leading European manufacturer”. A direct supply chain and simple proposition enable Iolla to keep prices low.

“We specify a lens, whereas if you’re in an optician, you tend to specify the lens,” says Mr Hunter. “We keep it simple.”

Apple outlets were the inspiration for the new experiential Glasgow showroom, and Iolla has big ambitions for the future. Mr Hunter plans to open 15-20 outlets over the next five years. Long term, he wants to see an Iolla showroom within reach of everyone in the UK.

The “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” is to be world’s most popular eyewear retailer. But there is another equally important goal: to be a force for good and inspire other businesses to trade with integrity. For that reason, the next round of expansion will be funded by private investors who believe in the proposition.

“We don’t want to do a venture capital or private equity round just yet,” says Mr Hunter. “We want to make sure we stick to our values.”