Anyone who wears glasses would know that buying eyewear is not cheap, especially if you’re looking for stylish ones. But home-grown eyewear brand Visual Mass aims to make spectacles more affordable for their customers. In fact, their prices are so good that they once had a customer snap up eight pairs of spectacles at a go.
Such binge shoppers are not a common sight, but the brand’s co-founder, Jerial Tan, says: “We see the same customers two to three times a year now, whereas in the past, it was usually just once a year, when their prescription changed or if their spectacles broke.”
Meet the Founders: Jerial Tan An optometry graduate, a number whizz, a serial entrepreneur—Jerial is the more verbose of the two and can be found downing copious amounts of coffee and reading in cafes, learning about how to further build the business. The creative of the duo visualizes the look and feel of the brand and scrutinizes every detail pertaining to the website, showroom, product design and packaging. He is also a fan of “Shark Tank” and travels when he can to challenge himself and experience different cultures. ? #VisualMass #VMFounders
Jerial, who oversees the marketing and creative aspects of the business, founded Visual Mass with his secondary school friend, Eddie Tan, in 2013. Both are 26 years old and single.
Meet the Founders: Eddie Tan Born into a family of opticians, Eddie got his head start in the industry from a tender age. Pioneers in the local eyewear industry in the 1990s, Eddie’s family managing over thirty optical outlets throughout the country. Their establishment have since forged extensive connections with suppliers from around the region. The backbone of Visual Mass, Eddie fronts the brand with gusto, taking charge of operations, business negotiations and human resource management. Crediting self-made men, notably luminaries in the vein of Steve Jobs, The Rock – Dwayne Johnson, David Beckham as sources of inspiration, Eddie ardently believes in the merits of self-empowerment. ? #VisualMass #VMFounders
The brand, which started as an online business in 2013, now has two stores, in OrchardGateway and Marina Square. A third will open in Orchard Central in June.
Eddie, who has perfect eyesight and is in charge of business development, says: “It used to cost around $400 to make a pair of spectacles with prescription lenses, but it didn’t make sense as it is just made of metal and plastic.”
Prices at Visual Mass are kept relatively low. Its frames, which are designed in-house and made in South Korea and China, are priced between $95 and $195.
The spectacle designs – the temples of the glasses are mostly black with the inner side painted in bright colours such as green and purple – are easy to match with outfits. For the more adventurous, there are frames in leopard prints or a translucent wine colour.
Some frames have nose pads, which sit more comfortably on Asian faces that tend to have a lower nose bridge, says Jerial.
While the founders declined to reveal sales figures, they say that business doubles every year. There are also plans to expand overseas to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea.
Going forward, the brand is taking on a more lifestyle-oriented approach, as evident from its Marina Square showroom, which also stocks clothing and other accessories.
Jerial says: “We want to show how one can match eyewear with accessories and clothing.”
Text: Alyssa Woo / The Straits Times / April 2017
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