About The Company

Our company, “Personal”, helps budget-priced eyesight-impaired consumers who want to purchase custom lenses for a reasonable price, by reducing the prices from big brand retailers, and enabling consumers to fit certain styles to their face as well as designing their own glasses unlike other retailers with limited styles.

We want to make buying eyewear cheaper and customizable through 3D printing. The trial boxes as well as complete custom frames will make it easier for eyewear purchasers to not only know what glasses will look like on their face before spending money, but be able to get a pair of glasses fitted specifically for them.

Customer Discovery/Prototypes – Do People Need This?

Jeffrey Wang

Personal – A New Way to See

Customer Discovery/Prototype

Budget priced eyesight impaired consumers need an easier and cheaper way to see clearly and go through their everyday lives. People want to customize eyewear without spending high prices, but cannot due to high cost and nonexistent return policies. Eyeglass consumers are tired of the extremely high markups on what are essentially small frames made of plastic. Current consumers are unable to replace their glasses at the rate they should be and resort to haphazard solutions in order to keep going. 

The interview process consisted of stopping people on the street that wore glasses and presenting them with a question. I asked them if they’ve had issues with the current sellers of glasses, and if there was a better solution available. I presented each interviewee with one of these solutions and recorded their responses. I recorded their responses and wrote down the general consensus on each idea.

Solution Ideas/Feedback include:

  1. VR goggles with a camera – this solution works, but it would be difficult keeping in line with the budget priced portion of the problem. On the other hand, integrating a panoramic camera into it would allow for a more complete view of the world compared to glasses.
    1. Would possibly be bulky and would definitely be more expensive than current solutions. 
  2. Seeing eye dog rental service – This is for the blind, but assuming that people want a seeing eye dog on vacation or while leaving home, they would be able to pick up one for rent so they would be able to more easily enjoy their vacation.
    1. Seeing eye dogs need to accompany their owner everywhere, it is unlikely that a blind person would travel without their seeing eye dog anyways. 
  3. 3D printing new glasses – By acquiring manufacturing rights and a design UI, this would allow us to severely undercut the competitors as well as being able to customize each pair of glasses to individual face shapes and personal preference.
    1. Would require pretty large startup costs, but otherwise a great idea.
  4. Lenses with Swappable frames – Instead of purchasing new pairs of glasses with lenses every time people need new glasses, they can simply buy a new frame.
    1.  Downside to this solution is the inability to change to new frame styles and shapes.
    2. Do glasses lenses stay in usable shape longer than frames?
  5. App that manages eyesight habits – Sort of like a nagging mother, this app manages your eyesight habits and sends tips to avoiding eye strain. This is more of a preventative solution, and won’t help those already severely eyesight impaired. 
    1. Where would revenue for this be? Since this is an app that runs in the background, it’s impossible to make revenue through advertising
    2. People are bombarded with possible app purchases everyday, they might be unwilling to download another.

Overall, I learned that many of my ideas were impractical in nature, and in hindsight, some are outright ridiculous. Although glasses are overpriced and there is a space for 3D printing glasses, the barriers to entry are fairly large. In order to improve, it might be better to focus on one simple part of the process, instead of trying to be both the supplier and retailer, focus on just being the retailer. 

A new solution is an iteration of my 3D printing idea. Instead of 3D printing the glasses myself, we can outsource that to a company like “Shapeways” that will be able to produce the glasses frame for us as long as we send them a 3D model of it. This allows us to enter the field much easier, and allows us to focus on customization of glasses. Looking at their prices, although this would raise our individual production cost slightly, bargaining with them and looking at their current prices, it would still be possible to severely undercut competitors and satisfy the target market.