Ever wondered what makes startups disruptive and turns entrepreneurs into change makers? It’s their ability to think how things around us can be made much better and then battle against all odds to realize their hard to achieve vision to benefit the masses.
Speaking of vision, here’s a look into Glassic as seen by its visionary founders. This is something you don’t want to miss if you are an investor or even a fellow entrepreneur.
As I said in few posts, you can never stop learning and continuous learning is what helps one succeed no matter who you are.[hero heading=”Kailash Nichani, Glassic.in“]I think it’s very important that the employees who join you in your journey, have to be like minded and of the same wavelengths as the founders – @kailash[/hero]
Glassic is a revolutionary new eye-wear brand that uses cutting edge technology and an efficient supply chain to transform the entire process of buying glasses, thereby reducing your need to rely on the expertise of your local optician.
Idea & Inception
I have been in the eye-wear retail industry as an entrepreneur for 7 years and Devesh for a year. I gained a holistic view of the industry and realized that the industry is seriously lopsided with 80% of branded frames being manufactured, distributed & sold by just 1 company. This is what keeps the prices of branded frames high without adding much value to the output.
With the insights gained, I knew it’s unwarranted to pay five figure sums of money for a pair of glasses. I then started thinking about a business model which allowed glasses to be manufactured at “brands” quality but, due to a modification to the traditional supply chain, be sold at a fraction of the cost to the end customer. After having discussed it with Devesh, he didn’t need much convincing to quit his job at Google and join me to co-found Glassic.
We wanted our name to represent our products and our beliefs. So we wanted to play on the tangible and the intangible. We wanted our brand to be a combination of hip, modern and classy, that was the approach we used to design our site, products and our peripheries. So after a little thought, one name stood out to us – Glassic.
Kailash Nichani, Co-Founder – For the last 7 years, I have been a part of the family business which is into retail optical dispensing and was in-charge of operations and business development. During my time there, I realized that the market perception was “good quality and fashionable eye-wear comes at a price”. On the contrary, many customers were looking for great design of frames & sunglasses without having to pay the heavy price to wear the “brand name”.
Devesh Nichani, Co-Founder – Devesh worked at Deloitte for a year in Hyderabad where he gained insights into the data driven world of finance. He then moved over to Google for a year where he worked in the Adwords team which gave him deep insights into the world of digital advertising and marketing.
Sneha Singh, Lead Graphic Designer – Sneha is our lead graphic designer. We recruited her from an affluent design college to lead our design philosophy.
Value proposition & USP
Glassic designs & manufactures frames and sunglasses in house and directly sells them online. This is how we can offer good quality fashionable eye-wear at an affordable price. But selling online came along with it’s own hurdles, those primarily being – inability to try on glasses & no proper direction/suggestion for lenses.
So, we adopted a state of the art virtual try-on where our customers can confidently pick a design that suits their face shape. No need to upload a photo or record a video. It works straight from your webcam and is an experience so close to shopping in store that you might just forget you’re doing it all in front of your laptop screen! No other online eye-wear retailer in India offers such a service.
If that wasn’t enough we have created an algorithm which auto suggests the most suitable lens keeping in mind the frame you have chosen and your power thus providing the most personalized experience ever witnessed in our industry. Thus taking away the need for you to visit a local optician and rely on his expertise. Our tool maintains consistency and transparency in pricing when compared to opticians. No two opticians provide the same prices for the same lens. And if you compare our tool to other online eye-wear retailers, they take the customer’s power after making them select their lenses, which is a flipped approach.
We iterated the idea to a few close friends and family. Showed them rough sketches of how the site would look and we demoed the virtual try on tool as well. We got some great responses and feedback. Also, since we were in the business of retail, we had a fair idea that this concept would surely work
Since Glassic is a design centric brand, we didn’t want there to be any compromise on any design aspect, be it the site or products or peripheries. We spent considerable amount of time on the site design and ensured that the design was absolutely perfect. The customer was of main focus for us and we wanted to provide customers with the simplest experience to buy their glasses.
When we were looking for a graphic designer, we interviewed many people who we touched base with online and as well as during campus recruitments. After a lot of scrutiny, Sneha joined us on board.
Measuring Growth & Tracking Metrics
Growth has been pretty good. We constantly obsess over the data on Google Analytics and many other metric focused websites.
Since eye-wear is not an impulsive purchase, its important for us to create a positive impact in the users mind when they visit our site the first time, so next time they are looking to purchase eye-wear they recall our brand. To measure if this is happening, we look at engagement levels of first time visitors and time spent on the site which are currently off the charts. We then try and analyze how many first time visitors convert over a period of 30 – 60 days. This is how we measure our growth.
Not as yet, but we are definitely looking seek funding at the appropriate time.
Finding Talent & Effective Hiring
Finding talented as well as able and willing people to work for you is always a task. I think it’s very important that the employees who join you in your journey, have to be like minded and of the same wavelengths as the founders, especially during the beginning of your startup as they are the ones who are going to be sitting by your side during it’s struggling days.
So, we believe in not only testing the skill level of the candidate but also asking a few questions where we understand the mindset of the employee in terms of his willingness to put in effort to work.
Hiring people of special skills such as designing & coding are the most difficult to fill. There are so many talented people who’re doing great work with their skills, but I think the design philosophies have to match in order to create something that the team truly cherishes collectively.
Trends in eye-wear industry
As mentioned in our mission statement, our aim is to transform the buying process of glasses as we think it is absolutely redundant to visit your local optician and rely on their expertise for your glasses and at the end of it all walk out paying a 5 figure sum. You will see more initiatives around this in the near future.
We’re looking to aggressively market our brand online and get the word out there about Glassic. We’re going to be designing more models of eye-wear as we’ve gotten a considerable amount of feedback from our customers about the kind of products they want to see on glassic.in
We’re also looking for any leads on angel investors who can help us with funding and mentoring us to scale the brand.
Stay true to your convictions and work towards them no matter the hurdles that come your way. For one day, it will all be worth it.
Glassic isn’t your regular “optical shop” or “optical online store”. We are a private label who designs, manufactures our own eye-wear and sell it directly to you. This is the only way we can sell you amazing designs at such affordable prices. So in a sense, when you shop at Glassic, you don’t get what you pay. You get much more. Take a look at our website to get a clear idea of the brand we are trying to create. Check us out at glassic.in
Can they be a $20 billion giant like Luxottica? Startups is all about dreaming big. So, why not?
For now, go get that luxury with authenticity and affordability @ Glassic.
[Edited for clarity]
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