9 Q&A: Local startup Frameri sets sights on bringing fashion into focus for prescription eyeglasses

CINCINNATI - Prescriptions eyeglasses are a necessity for wearers, but with thousands of available styles, colors and shapes, they're also a fashion accessory.

Cincinnati startup Frameri is taking the idea of eyeglass frames as accessory to a new level. Early next year, the company will begin shipping its first interchangeable lenses and frames to customers. The Frameri tagline "One lens, many frames" explains it all.

9 Questions for Frameri co-founder and CEO Konrad Billetz

1. How did you get the idea for the Frameri?
I’ve worn glasses my whole life and I consider myself a stylish person. I like fashion accessories, and I was always frustrated that I could change a lot of things about my outfit but not the one thing that sits in the middle of my face. Right now, we treat our glasses like a cell phone contract, it’s something we have to keep for many years. We can’t change it and we’re stuck with the pair we picked out. People aren’t able to experiment and play with their prescription glasses, and we wanted to find a way to change that. We wanted to create a system that works for the consumer with their needs in mind, especially for the lifelong glasses wearers. They are the people that really understand and appreciate our concept.

2. Do you have a designer? How do you create and design the frames?
We work with designers in Cincinnati at The Launch Werks.  With their help we've designed the frames. We started by looking at the most common face shapes. We developed our first six lens shapes to flatter those faces. From there we designed our frame shapes and colors, so it’s actually backward from the way most glasses are designed.

We start with the consumer in mind, however, and although that makes us different, we think it also helps us to stand out. We’ve designed three frames for each of our lenses so far. These frames are combinations of flattering designs, designs we personally like, fashion trends and eyewear classics. The colors were handpicked by the Frameri team. We're excited to bring some classic tortoises, black and browns to the market as well as some really adventurous clears and bright colors.

3. Do you do something special to the lenses to keep them from getting scratched or harmed as your change frames?
The lenses we use are durable and have a coating like most lenses today. We wrap the outside edge of the lens in a coating and apply a bumper. This bumper eliminates the sharp edge to the lens and also provides a material to reduce friction between the lens and the frames so that popping lenses in and out of multiple frames is easy.

4. What are the frames made from?
The frames are made from some of the finest acetate in the world. Acetate is a plant-based plastic made from cotton. Our frames are made in Italy and are incredible quality with amazing acetate colors.

5. I see you had a successful Indiegogo campaign, what will the money raised go toward?
The money from Indiegogo  will fulfill the orders purchased through the campaign. The other part raised will go into inventory of frames and lenses. The campaign has also helped tremendously with the research and product development that we are completing now.

6. I see people can pre-order frames on the website. When will you start shipping orders?
We are looking to ship in February. We will fulfill our orders from our Indiegogo campaign and our pre-orders first. Then we’ll take live orders.

This first line will have three lens shapes and three frames offered in each shape. Each of those frames is offered in three colors. It’s easier to see visually but for each lens shape, there are nine amazing frames available to fit that lens. This is just the start too. We'll expand on all of the lines and will be launching the next three lenses within the year.

7. The Frameri also had a design contest recently. How was the experience?
It was a great experience. We consider ourselves designers, and are excited to bring our product to the creative audience. We wanted to start things off by getting designers involved and excited about our concept. We had a lot of wonderful entrees and the winning entry’s design will be put into production. It's exciting to connect to that creative community and see their excitement about Frameri.

8. What is your biggest challenge as you move forward?
We really want to make sure that we are always keeping the customer in mind. We want to listen to questions and concerns and respond to those in a proactive way. This is a challenge because there are a lot of misconceptions and doubts about products and concepts that are completely new. We hope to establish ourselves as a reliable, quality and really innovative company, so we work hard to stay in touch with our fans and customers. We would rather have happy customers and be a highly regarded brand than make waves in the industry or have record-breaking sales.

9. What's next for the Frameri?
Getting our glasses to our amazing Indiegogo supporters and pre-order customers. We are working on everything

from packaging to product completion to website experience to customer service. We hope that we can not only supply an awesome product, but also an awesome customer experience. 

Connect with WCPO Contributor Feoshia Davis via Twitter: @feoshiawrites

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