Fitz Frames is today launching out of beta to offer affordable, custom-made glasses for families, and in particular, for children.
The company, which has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, was founded by Heidi Hertel and is led by CEO Gabriel Schlumberger. The company declined to disclose its investors, but shared that it was a mix of angel and institutional investors.
Hertel started the company after taking her children through the process of buying glasses with little to no success.
Hertel cites two main problems with buying glasses for children: 1) There isn’t much selection around style for kids, and 2) Glasses are made for kids and adults with little variation in size for kids who are in-between.
Here’s how it works:
With an Rx from a doctor or without, kids and parents hop on the Fitz Frames app to go through a virtual try-on. While the user is going through a virtual try-on to find the right pair of glasses, the Fitz Frames app is doing a full measurement of the face using thousands of data points, including ear-height, nose shape, etc. to make sure that the end result is a comfortable, well-fitting pair of glasses.
From there, Fitz Frames sends the measurements to their manufacturing set-up in Youngstown, Ohio, where the frames are made from polyamide powder, which is 3D-printed using selective laser sintering.
Not only does the polyamide allow for a more durable, flexible frame, but the manufacturing process as a whole allows Fitz to turn around frames quickly. The goal, according to Hertel, is to turn around a pair of glasses in a week or less.
Fitz Frames are also made with no-screw hinges, opting instead for arms that pop right out of the socket and pop back in. This means repairing a pair of Fitz Frames is far easier and doesn’t require sewing hands and tiny screwdrivers.
Kids can also have their name or favorite number or address etched into the arm of the glasses.
Fitz Frames cost $95, but the company is also offering a subscription plan for parents. The idea is that kids lose and break their glasses all the time, and that small children shouldn’t have to feel responsible for something worth hundreds of dollars.
“Glasses shouldn’t have to be so precious,” said Hertel.
The subscription, which costs $185/year, includes two pairs of glasses. From there, subscribers can get unlimited frames (but not lenses, or shipping) throughout the year. In other words, your kids can lose their glasses as often as they’d like as long as you’re cool paying for the third, fourth, and so on lenses.
Fitz Frames isn’t alone. A company called Pair Eyewear is also tackling kids glasses with an approach that focuses on easily changing the style through clip-on top-frames. Warby Parker also recently got into kids’ frames.
Not unlike Warby, Fitz is also working alongside nonprofits to make glasses more accessible. The company has a partnership with Vision to Learn, which provides eye exams and glasses to kids in low-income communities, as well as a pilot program with Loving Eyes, an org that provides custom-fit eyeglasses for children with craniofacial anomalies who can’t wear conventional glasses.
Fitz Frames also has plans to launch a pop-up in the Hamptons at the end of August.