For over 20 years, Gothika has designed and manufactured specialty Halloween contact lenses. Gothika is America’s No. 1 brand for specialty contact lenses and is one of only a handful of companies to sell contact lense products with FDA clearance.
The man behind Gothika is Scott Smiledge-Ferragamo, an exciting entrepreneur who became in Internet Millionaire in 2009. We decided to catch up with Scott Smiledge-Ferragamo to learn more about owning the no. 1 brand for specialty contact lenses
This is what he had to say.
- First of all, please introduce yourself.My name is Scott Smiledge-Ferragamo and I am the director of Gothika brand contact lenses and LensScript prescription verification. I’ve been in the Halloween and special FX industry for over 27 years and in medical device compliance for over 12 years.
- You are the founder of Gothika, why did you start the company?Gothika was founded by my good friend John Patterson. John created Orion Vision Group a company that creates custom contact lenses and from that, Gothika was born. Sadly, John unexpectedly passed away a few years back. Control of the business was given to LensServ Optical ( I was the CEO ) and in 2020 control of the business came directly to me. Although Orion still maintains ownership in conjunction with John’s family.
- You have been manufacturing specialty Halloween contact lenses for over 20 years, how has your product changed over the years?Contact lens technology has changed a lot over the past 20 years. Although Gothika was one of the first brands to seal the design inside the lenses so it doesn’t come in contact with the eye. We have worked to perfect that system over the years making our lenses vibrant and comfortable. Colors and designs that don’t fade over time like cheaper lenses do.
- You are now the no. 1 brand for specialty contact lenses and one of only a few companies to sell contact lense products with FDA clearance, what do you put your success down to?Quality really is key here. Making sure your lenses have valid FDA paperwork and that they are manufactured with customer comfort over profit. Cheap lenses are everywhere but they aren’t comfortable or manufactured with questionable techniques. Gothika is the Cadillac of Halloween contact lenses.
- As well as supplying custom-made Halloween contact lenses, you also supply corrective lenses in various strengths,Gothika is the only theatrical lens company that makes contact lenses in .25 steps. So you can get your exact prescription. Our custom lenses offer a wide selection of strengths from -20.00 through +20.00
- Why do you believe people come to your company to purchase their contact lenses rather than go to the competition?Quality and value is key. Our reputation in the haunt and cosplay industry is unblemished. Also, we are located right in Marietta, Ga. Most competitors are selling cheap illegal lenses from overseas and are shipping from the UK or Canada.
- Your contact lenses have become very popular with actors all over the world, how does it make you feel knowing that some of the biggest names in the entertainment world are wearing your product?We love working with all our clients! But I get what you are saying. It is a rush to see your product on your favorite shows. I can remember the first show years ago that I geeked out when I saw it. CSI. They did a vampire episode and used our red vampire lenses. We even have the Gothika logo in the background in one scene. Definitely a thrill!
- What is your biggest selling product at the present moment?Zombies are still hot! The White Out Zombie Lenses are the king of the hill at the moment. Second is the Angelic Blue Lenses with the cool jagged limbal ring.
- 45 million people wear contact lenses in the USA while 164 million wear glasses, what would you say the benefits of wearing contact lenses compared to glasses?Aside from vanity I would say comfort. With a good quality lens you don’t feel them on your eye at all. Where you feel glasses on your face all day. My first week wearing contact lenses made me feel so free.
- Can you see a time when more people will wear contact lenses compared to glasses?I think as the technology progresses glasses will become obsolete for a massive chunk of the population. Who would have thought 20 years ago that we would have lenses you can leave in for 30 days and sleep with them in. Or high tech lenses that can communicate with your smart phone. Eye glass technology hasn’t been very innovative over the past 20 years.
- In 2009 you became an internet millionaire, what do you put your success down to?There is a big misconception about becoming an instant millionaire. Unless you win the lottery it really doesn’t happen. There is no magic bullet. No shortcuts or hidden secrets. It’s all about unrelenting dedication to your business. Never giving up. Never stop innovating. The more you fail, the clearer your path becomes.
- 90% of starts up fails within ten years, why is that figure so high?They give up. Maybe a lack of critical thinking skills or ambition. They try it for a few months, and it doesn’t get traction. So, they think it will never work and give up on it. Maybe it’s just a bad idea. But I’ve seen some really stupid products out there make money. It’s all about being dedicated and passionate about your plan.
- You are a success story, so with so much success behind you, what motives you in the morning?Any leader is only as good as his/her team. And the Gothika team is amazing! For any of our customers that order from us they already know the hard work the customer experience team puts in place. The Gothika staff continues to inspire and motivate me with nothing short of brilliance every single day! That and coffee…. Lots of coffee.
- What future goals do you have, is there anything you have not achieved that you want to achieve?That’s a pretty big list. In 2021 I would like to expand our charitable contributions to DAVA ( Da Nang Association For Victims of Agent Orange ). A remnant of the Vietnam war that still affects children across Vietnam. A defoliant called dioxin was sprayed during the war later to be found to cause birth defects and other illnesses. We started working with them 5 years ago to directly help families in need. I’m very passionate about that.
Gothika has a large selection of hand-painted lenses that are made specifically for each order. The lenses are popular with individuals from actors to Halloween aficionados. Whether you want a unique pair of contact lenses for a special occasion or prescription lenses that change your appearance, Gothika has just what you are looking for.
Customers can find a wide range of contact lenses and styles on Gothika’s official website.