What if you could change your glasses as frequently as you change your clothes or shoes?
That’s now possible, thanks to Frameri, the first interchangeable frame and lens eyewear brand. Frameri’s system allows consumers to purchase frames and lenses separately, and then snap those lenses into multiple frames. All the stylish, swappable frames can be prescription or non-prescription, optical or sun.
With simple mechanics and materials designed to last a lifetime, Frameri is positioning itself to reinvent eyewear as we know it. Batterii sat down with CEO and Co-Founder, Konrad Billetz, to uncover details of how Frameri is disrupting the disruptors in eyewear.
Batterii: How is Frameri challenging the eyewear industry as we know it—and how come swappable lens haven’t been tried before?
Konrad Billetz: We give freedom to people who wear glasses, as opposed to having it being controlled by the way the industry has done it in the past. [Other companies in the industry] really had no desire to innovate. Because the materials are so flexible and so difficult to make precisely, creating an interchangeable product behind that was difficult for eyewear brands.
Luckily, using great design and really keeping industrial design as one of our core competencies, we have been able to create a much more elegant, simple system that works perfectly, and that customers love.
Batterii: Speaking of great design, how did you build the company so that it would be design driven? Has that influenced your approach to building your team and your product?
Konrad Billetz: When a company is design driven, it's just the decision that we make that we really want to focus on design. Design is extremely important to us.
I think we're seeing macro-trends that also support better-designed products...For us, it was deciding we wanted to be a design team and just making sure that those core values lined up with everybody on the team. I always had so many ideas, and our design team has so many ideas on what they want to create. Design just became something we needed.
Batterii: What inspires you right now and what gets you excited?
Konrad Billetz: I'm big on experiences. I don't really care much for money, I never have. I'm more into creating experiences. I get really inspired with Frameri because we have potential to do so much good for the industry that's really broken right now—and we get to be the voice for people that actually use the products.
We actually get to come in now and be the voice of a customer. They deserve to be able to change. They shouldn't be locked in a system, buying the same way that everyone has always because that's what the man wants. We wanted to come in and change this, and that's what inspires us. We're really at a cool moment where we're—even if it’s a small part—changing an industry, and that's what gets us really excited.
Batterii: You appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank." What can you tell us about your "Shark Tank" experience?
Konrad Billetz: They asked us to be on it, and at the end of the day, I know I'm going to get one life, and I might as well go do something crazy—I might as well go do something fun.
It was great in that regard, it's just an experience that most people can't say they have. That being said, it's completely fabricated. It's reality TV. They edit it, and you're at the mercy of the editors, however they want to make you look. It's great, extremely entertaining television, which means that they do a really good job editing…I don't see that as how the actual startup world, or the venture capital world really works.
They're just really different, but it is a great show because it gives people interest [and shows the] American Dream is still alive. That's what that show does, it tells how the American dream is here, and how anybody can think of ideas, and how and idea can be big. I think that's the principle behind the show…It's about taking risks. I would say as the viewer, understand that it's edited, but for us it was great.
Batterii: Frameri is establishing itself as a better way to do eyewear. Product-wise, what else is next for Frameri?
Konrad Billetz: One thing that you'll see in the next year or two, is us experimenting with different materials—traditional eyewear materials but just not necessarily just Cellulose Acetate…
What we've really created is a platform for frame manufacturers and lens manufacturers. There are a lot of lenses that you probably never even knew existed because they're so specific for tasks: for instance, computer lenses, or lenses you should wear after 8 PM to help you fall asleep. Most people never go buy those as a single pair of glasses, but with us, you're just adding it on to your collection, and your wardrobe, which you already have. It makes a lot more sense. We're going to be able to do a lot on the lens side, and then on the frames side.
There is a lot of work to be done. I can tell you one thing we'll do is we'll keep making cool-ass frames.
About Konrad Billetz & Frameri
Konrad Billetz is Co-Founder and CEO of Frameri, an interchangeable frames and lenses company. People can change their look in a snap with prescription and non-prescription lenses, sun or optical. Unlike ordinary glasses, Frameri glasses are specially designed and use more flexible and durable materials. Frameri's unique eyewear solution is handmade in Italy and designed in OTR, Cincinnati, Ohio. Find more on the Frameri website.
Photo Credit: original photo via Frameri Instagram
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