The seeds of Ulla Eyewear were sown in the late 1990s when many friends of Ulla (pronounced ooo-la), an iconic Madisonian, took notice of the fun, bold, and distinctive eyewear she acquired while visiting her native Germany. Soon Ulla found herself taking numerous requests prior to her trips and bringing back frames for her friends in Madison. Recognizing the need for a place to buy distinctive and fashion-forward eyewear locally, her husband, Joe Graber, founded Ulla Eyewear.
After working at the store for more than eight years, Joe’s daughter, Brittany, took over operations and ownership in 2009. Today Brittany Graber proudly carries on the tradition of style and originality that is her step-mother Ulla’s trademark.
Operating in Hilldale Shopping Center since 1998, Ulla Eyewear is one of Madison’s only local, independent, and family-owned eyewear stores. Our stunning selection of unique and stylish frames for men, women, and children – along with exclusive lines and interesting accessories – makes Ulla Eyewear Madison’s premier eyewear shopping destination.
Meet the Team
Amy, Store Manager, ABOC
Life outside of Ulla: Reading, karaoke, dancing, and watching cheesy horror films on Netflix.
Why you enjoy your job: I love making sure every customer walks out looking fabulous with great vision in their new glasses.
Love for other local businesses: Cornblooms for amazing comfy shoes, Natspil for great food and music, local consignment shops where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing or furniture.
Life outside of Ulla: My passions are yoga and painting. I love to go to the big dog park with my granddog and take brisk walks.
Why you enjoy your job: I enjoy creating a look for people who are open to the experience of new and fun eyewear. I enjoy working with my daughter who is the big boss.
Love for other local businesses: Terese Zache has great designs and high quality clothing, Jac’s for great beer and burgers, Willy Street Co-op for its locally grown food .
Neil, Optician, ABOC
Life Outside Ulla: I study at UW-Madison for Apparel and Textile Design. In my free time I enjoy being with friends, running, playing with my dog, and nerding it up with video and board games.
Why you enjoy your job: I love the process of helping select glasses for people. I get to pick out and show new and exciting shapes and colors for the most important facial accessory. Ulla’s great selection makes this a smooth and fun experience.
Love for other local businesses: I owe a shout out to Cornblooms and Morgan’s Shoes for the fabulous footwear I’ve gotten. I spend a lot of time at both the Unions on campus. There are simply too many wonderful local restaurants and bars to name them all.
Life Outside of Ulla: I enjoy spending time in nature with my dogs. I love relaxing with my friends, family and on my own. Watching films is a regular pastime, I would say documentaries are my favorite genre. I find people are so interesting and you can learn a lot from others’ life experiences. I also enjoy gardening, yoga, camping, gemstones and minerals and cooking.
Why you enjoy your job: Meeting people from all different walks of life is the biggest perk; I love to talk with people about almost anything. Once you get to know someone, it makes picking out a new pair of glasses much easier because we know what needs should be met. Selecting frames is part creativity and part problem solving; every day is different from the next, and I love that!
Love for other local businesses: I try to do all of my shopping local- some of my favorites are Burnie’s Rock Shop, the Willy St. Co-Op, Verlo (nothing like a handmade mattress!), Players Bar and Grill, Olbrich Gardens, the Farmers’ Market, and of course, the Union Terrace on summer nights!
Margot, Sales Manager, ABOC
Life outside of Ulla: Outside of work I love spending time with family and friends – sitting around a fire or the lake, playing music and enjoying the company of those I love most. I always am working on a variety of craft and home projects.
Why you enjoy your job: For me the best part of Ulla Eyewear is YOU! I love helping my clients find something new and fun. I always want to push you a bit- move outside your comfort zone into a look that makes you feel confident and unique. Stop in and see me, I want to meet you!
Love for other local businesses: As a Madison native I have grown up on a steady diet of local goodness! I frequent the Memorial Union, Brittingham Boats, RED Sushi and the Willy Street Coop! I seem to always have on a pair of shoes from Cornblooms and jewelry from Art Gecko.
Life outside of Ulla: My son, Alexander, and I enjoy going to the Madison Zoo, Children’s Museum, and finding live music to dance to! He is quite the dancer and foodie! In addition, we enjoy going on adventures with friends and family! I will be graduating in December of ’17 from Edgewood College with a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. I love taking what I have learned in school and applying it to my everyday life. The team at Ulla has been such a huge support for me during this journey!
Why you enjoy your job: There is something to be said about waking up in the morning and feeling excited about going to work. The team at Ulla Eyewear has a contagious energy and a passion for making every client feel and look their best. I enjoy being a part of that team in assisting you!
Love for other local businesses: A couple of my favorites include; Naples 15, Children’s Museum, Twigs, Cornblooms.
Life outside of Ulla: My favorite pastime outside of work is baking. I bake mostly layer cakes and enjoy experimenting with uncommon flavors. I will occasionally make cookies and donuts as well. I also love to draw and have dabbled in watercolors. When the weather is nice I love to go on bike rides or rent kayaks or paddleboards.
Why you enjoy your job: The best thing about this job is the people I work with. Coming from corporate retail, where there was constant staff turnover, to a small local business has been a refreshing change for me. Everyone who works in the store brings a unique personality to the team and is so knowledgeable about what we do. As the newest addition to the staff, I feel very welcomed and supported by my coworkers. Being part of the team at Ulla feels like being part of a family.
Love for other local businesses: As a baker, I have a special appreciation for sweet treats and frequent both Batch Bakehouse and Greenbush Bakery. I live near the capitol square and like to walk to nearby restaurants such as Merchant, Nattspil, and countless other locally owned establishments.
Brittany Graber, President and Owner, ABOC
Life outside of Ulla: I like to paint, run with my dog, cook and spend time with family and friends.
Why you enjoy your job: Running a business is extremely rewarding. I get to work with a wonderful team of people, meet great customers and pick-out fabulous frames for the store. We are there throughout the entire eyeglass experience making sure everyone walks out happy, looking great, and seeing their best. Helping others is really important to us.
Love for other local businesses: Ruffin’ It Resort, Great Dane, Cornblooms, Jac’s and the list goes on….