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 its original Hilldale location 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 locals: 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 locals: 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 the local: 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!
Life outside of Ulla: I am a birth doula and a passionate student of yoga. I love spending time outdoors- stand up paddleboarding, hiking and running. For fun I play music with my family, enjoy a glass of wine and work on a variety of ongoing art 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. You’ll know me if you see me out out – I’m the one with the loud voice and the great specs!
Life outside of Ulla: As a first time mother, I can be found shopping at Whole Foods or the Willy St. Co-op and trying new gluten and lactose free recipes. Yoga, dance, music and the children I have been a nanny to also play a large part of my overall happiness. I love attending ballets, musicals and Broadway productions. I enjoy going on adventures with friends and family and listening to life stories from people I meet along the way.
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 locals: A couple of my favorites include; Madison Ballet, Sardine, Satara, and Naples 15.
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….