Competitive Landscape
Competitor A: Essilor/Foster Grant/Magnivision
  • Strengths: Locations throughout the country in every major Drug, Discount, Mass and Grocery Store. Controls bulk of non-prescription reading glass sales
  • Weaknesses: Quality, fashion and lack of accommodation for different power lenses for each eye. Offers MultiFocal lenses with three different viewing powers that act like prescription progressive lenses but in turn magnifies the problem of same power in each eye by three.
    Frames and many lenses made of Polycarbonate material and as a result has to bear the California Prop 65 warning of being a potential cancer causing material.
Competitor B: Eye Bobs
  • Strengths: Quality product, Internet presence. Priced at $79
  • Weaknesses: Limited locations for TryOn, mainly masculine styles
    Lenses can be mixed but not their preference and voids return policy 

From their website’s FAQ:

Q: “ I need a +1.50 in my right eye and a +2.00 in my left.  Can I still order eyebobs?”

A: Well we don’t usually do this, but since you are so nice… we can create pair of eyebobs for you with two different magnifications.  There is an additional charge to do, so if you have some models you are considering please call us for a quote.  One thing to note, these custom creations are not eligible for return or exchange

Competitor C: Fetch
  • Strengths: Quality product, Internet presence, Nice Website, Priced at $95+
    Offers powers for each eye but you need to call in and no measurement tool provided
  • Weaknesses: Sale items intermingled with regular price, potentially leading to down-sell. Limited physical locations. TryOn has no physical tester system and offers only single power options. Company moving more toward Rx. Has lenses cut in Portland so higher cost than overseas or owning equipment.
Competitor D: Reading Glasses Etc
  • Strengths: Quality product, Internet presence, Nice Website, Custom Lensing
    Offers powers for each eye but you need to measure with inexact paper measure at odd distances
  • Weaknesses: High Prices. Weird Mojo name lacks definition and relevance.
Competitor E: Custom Eyes
  • Strengths: Will make glasses in separate powers
  • Weaknesses: Low quality frames, poor looking site, must use chart of questionable accuracy
Competitor F: AdLens
  • Strengths: Adjustable Lenses, LensCrafter presence. Attractiveness for 3rd World countries
  • Weakness: Gimmicky, limited styles, lens material and ABBE quality yet to be determined. Not promoted as Reading Glass replacements or Computer Vision Eyewear
Competitor G: Costco and Warehouse Stores
  • Strengths: Multi Packs and Price. Costco does huge volume: Over $40 million annually at Costco
  • Weaknesses. Matched lenses, lower quality frames
Competitor H: Gunnar (Gaming and Computer Glasses)
  • Strengths First to Market with full collection of Computer and Gaming Glasses.
  • Weakness: Unattractive yellow tinted lens alters true color perception and very high prices for prescription and customization of lenses. After negative consumer feedback, added a clear lens that does not offer the same eye shielding properties. While we may offer an Amber version of The Everyrhing Lens® lens for night use (as they do brighten the screen while protecting the eyes) for Seeing and Being Seen in public a clear lens with all 15 Vision Enhancement, Eye Protection and Convenience Features is a better choice.
Competitor I: Jins

With a home base in Japan, Jin's has recently started opening stores in the USA.

  • Strengths: Was able to sell 5 million pairs of Computer Glasses in Asian market. Their primary strength is in prescription eyewear.
  • Weakness: Limited styles for ready made Computer Glasses. They charge an exhorbitant fee for Computer screen lenses. On their ready made Computer glasses they raised their price for the US market and offer a very limited frame selection, all of which are currently injection molded plastic.

There are many prescription eyewear companies both online and in brick and mortar locations.

Luxottica (Italy) is the biggest – controlling LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, JC Penny Optical, Sears Optical and many others for Rx glasses plus Sunglass Hut for sunglasses. They also own Ray Ban and Oakley, the two best known names in eyewear, which in turn, account for nearly 50% of their annual sales – plus a whole host of license arrangements or designer brands they own outright.

The Luxottica brand and all its’ properties were just recently purchased by Essilor (France), the largest lens manufacturing company (and owner of Foster Grant Sunglass and Readers) making them appear as both a vertical and horizontal monopolistic behemoth.

They have engendered a lot of animosity facing attacks for price fixing, strong-arming optical stores, dictating products to be carried by their optician customers and raising retail prices to absurd levels as a result of their control of market share. There is a great video of a 60 Minutes interview with the head of Luxottica that you can find on YouTube.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough... now Essilor, the world’s largest lens maker is in the process of merging with Luxottica and while the Luxottica name will disappear the monopolistic practices will grow exponentially. Essilor also owns Foster Grant and Magnavision, making them the largest Reading Glass company in the world.

We believe that they will want to buy us out of the business as they cannot lower their prices to meet ours without exposing the outrageous markup they have on their company owned eyewear brands and our all included lens treatments are a major source of up-sell revenue for them. If not them then one of two other companies that are trying to get market share will be interested in our model. 

On the other end of the spectrum there are online companies like that provide low priced prescription eyewear of low quality. Zenni upcharges for many of the lens treatments we include in our price and they can add up to make the cheap frames quite expensive if going all in. They are not currently in the reading glass business.

And last but not least is Warby Parker. For those of us in the business they are both a great success story and a head scratcher. They had no experience in designing and manufacturing eyewear and their original product was of mediocre quality. While they have built a “lifestyle brand”–  they still have not paid attention to some of the core issues in the business.

The Polycarboante lenses they use are not the clearest choice for optical precision. They were developed initially for NASA space helmets, to protect astronauts from flying debris, then adopted for sports glasses and now for optical lenses. They are known for having distortion on the outer rim and for being less than clear for typical eyewear use. The state of California considers the materials used to produce polycarbonate lenses (BPA) to be a cancer-causing agent, and, by law, Proposition 65 products (as they are called as a group) are required to carry warnings. Any optical expert will tell you that resin based lenses offer more clarity and are better for everyday use.

Raising tons of money and valued at $1.15 billion (though their valuation was just reduce by +/- a few hundred million dollars) they are not yet turning a significant profit. This is a problem that will continue to grow as they now do what they said they would never do: they are opening retail stores, some costing as much as $2,000,000 and you still end up placing your order online, at the store, and await delivery to your home.

They also have a frame adjustment relationship with the company they railed against, directing their customers to LensCrafters, owned by Luxottica/Essilor who they said were the reason for opening Warby Parker in the first place. Hmmm. They were considered disruptors for their Home TryOn program. While we applaud their Home TryOn model and the movement it began... and while we surely envy the PR they received, we will trump their disruption with a revolutionary offering for the larger non-Rx all-inclusive demographic