Ava ’20 and Lux ’18 answer the calls of girls seeking an innovative way to enhance their style. Along with their mother, jewelry designer Sonya Ooten, the Frisina sisters are the creators of BEX, wing-like accessories that can be laced into sneakers.
“I was at a modeling shoot for Microsoft, and I saw the makeup stylist’s shoes, and it had a wing on it, so I showed my mom and we both thought, “That’s such a cool idea!’” Ava said.
Ava, who models as a hobby, is involved with different print and commercial campaigns for Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Reebok and other businesses. Soon after she noticed the stylist’s shoes, she and her mother ordered similar shoe wings from the website Etsy, a mecca for fans of hand-crafted accessories and goods. When Ava quickly wore out her first shoe wings, however, she started thinking about how to make wings that would be more creative and durable, and the idea for the sisters’ company, Avalux, was born.
“We started thinking, ‘What if you had different kinds on your shoes?’ We drew a bunch of styles and then the company evolved from that,” Ava said.
The first shoe wing company the sisters were involved in was called Shwings. Ooten was in partnership with investors Alan Johnson and Elliot Hans when they first created the company in Hollywood. The two sisters were really involved in the company, but their business partners didn’t agree with the hands-on approach of the sisters.
“We were really excited, but we ended up splitting from Shwings because Ava and I wanted to have a big role in the company,” Lux noted. “It was our creation, and we needed to be a part of it.”
The two then split from Shwings to form Avalux and create BEX. According to Ava, BEX shoe wings include trademark wing designs as well as Superman, the Flash and Wonderwoman designs.
“Our message is to empower and inspire others, and we thought the perfect way to say that is through superhero designs,” Lux said.
The product’s name is derived from the name of the sisters’ brother Beckett, whom they call Beck, and their company producing the products company, Avalux, a mix of the two girls’ names.
The family sets up booths at events like 10K races so that people can buy the products and give them to their family members before they race. BEX give runners the ability to run with superhero encouragement on their feet.
BEX are currently sold in Landis on Larchmont and Fred Segal, and the sisters donate profits from their sales to many veterans’ charities, such as Wounded Warrior, Injured Better, and Returning From War. They also set up BEX booths at events like the Supergirl Pro surfing competition in Oceanside, California, as a way of further supporting empowerment. They also hand BEX out in local hospitals such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Although the accessories are sold and donated in so many different settings, their purpose is still unclear to some. Ava and Lux hope to combat confusion about their accessories by educating people about the product’s use.
“It’s hard to start a new thing like this, because no one’s really heard of them, so it’s challenging to sell to people who are confused about how BEX work,” Ava said. “When people are in stores, they will walk right past them and not know what they are!”
The girls use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to spread the word of their company and have even created a hashtag on Instagram, #bexhacks, which showcases a variety of different ways one can wear BEX; not only do they lace into shoes, they can be worn in braids, on flip flops, on bicycle helmets and even on earrings.
“We’re thinking about starting a contest to see who can get the most creative with BEX,” Lux said. She believes that the idea could help promote the product even more.
“I would call the company a baby right now,” Lux said, “but it’s definitely growing.”
Sold at theoriginalbex.com for $8.95 a pair, the BEX creators hope to evoke ideas of innovation, fun, empowerment and a free spirit for their consumers. Both Ava and Lux have a positive outlook on BEX’s future.
“Maybe in the future we could even have Marlborough BEX!” Ava remarked.