Entrepreneurs often start companies stemming from their personal experiences. Heidi Hertel founded Fitz Frames, for instance, after her experiences with buying eyeglasses with her children. She has three kids, and two of them have worn glasses since they were toddlers. “I spent a lot of time with them shopping for eyeglasses,” Hertel, who is also the company’s co-CEO, told PYMNTS in an interview, adding that it was consistently an unsatisfying experience.
Hertel noted that choices are limited for children’s eyeglasses, and it is hard to check off all the boxes when it comes to finding a quality product. When she realized there wasn’t a great solution, she decided to find one. She joined forces with Co-CEO Gabriel Schlumberger, who was experiencing the same challenges when looking for glasses with his son.
Consumers download an app to start their shopping experience, which Hertel said was built to make it “super fun, easy and simple to buy glasses” for families. The first step is to take a couple of snapshots, which allows the company to gather measurements of their faces. Next, they can do a virtual try-on and scroll through six different styles and eight different colors for a lifelike experience. Fitz Frames offers prescription glasses, blue light glasses and sunglasses. Consumers can personalize the frames with their names, lucky numbers or birthdays.
Shoppers can then check out using a credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or health savings account (HSA) / flexible spending account (FSA) at launch. The company then delivers the glasses to consumers at their homes.
The big difference with Fitz Frames, Schlumberger noted, is that it is meeting customers where they live – or at least where they communicate. The whole experience can be completed on their mobile phone. “It’s really simple and easy,” Schlumberger said.
Even so, he noted that children lose, break or grow out of their glasses often. As a result, consumers usually end up buying two, three, four or five pairs of frames. Consumers can either purchase a complete set of glasses at a set rate or opt for an annual subscription. With the subscription option, consumers can receive unlimited frames: The first two are full sets of eyeglasses with lenses, and after that they only pay for the lenses.
When it comes to selections, the company’s eyeglasses have lighthearted names, ranging from “Yesiree” to “Ten-Four,” with the goal of injecting some fun into the process. The glasses are built at the company’s Youngstown, Ohio facility with state-of-the-art materials via 3D laser sintering.
The Custom Eyeglass Market
Beyond Fitz Frames, King Children is another player looking to serve the market with custom glasses. Once a consumer is ready to purchase, she can visit a checkout page on the website to enter an inscription of a few words that will be printed inside the frame. For payments, King Children accepts all credit and debit cards. At the time of a November PYMNTS interview, it was reported that the company also planned to accept flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs).
King Children Co-founder Sahir Zaveri said in the November interview that the company’s target market is Gen Z, consumers ranging from the ages of 18 to 24. He added that the market is particularly unique, as “this is a generation that almost doesn’t remember the world without a smartphone.”
From King Children to Fitz Frames, entrepreneurs are looking to reframe the shopping experience for glasses through the help of eCommerce.