Can reading glasses be really cool? A new eyewear company called Club Cheeterz he thinks so. The startup is working to change the perception of reading glasses from just being cheap, disposable items that you pick up from a revolving display at your local pharmacy to something you would really be proud to wear. To do so, the company is designing its glasses with quality lenses and frames in a variety of styles, while still keeping the price affordable.
The startup, whose name is a reference to the slang term for glasses, “cheats,” was founded by Jennifer Farrelly, whose career includes jobs in advertising and sales at companies such as Uber and Virool.
She said she came up with the idea to make a better set of readers because she was frustrated with the current options on the market.
“It all started a few years ago. My friends were posting these really depressing comments and posts on social media like, ‘I’m old and I’m becoming my parents, this is horrible.’ Me too [thought to myself] Why does it have to be like this? I feel as young today as I did ten years ago, ”explains Farrelly. “Why do my friends and I feel compelled to feel old by something that happens overnight?” He says, about what felt like the sudden onset of middle age and the difficulties it brings.
What’s worse, says Farrelly, is that when you finally head to the drugstore to buy some reading glasses, all you’ll find are bad plastic pairs that look and feel cheap.
“That is even more demoralizing,” he adds.
So Farrelly teamed up with a former Warby Parker and Pair Eyewear product manager, Lee Zaro, to design a new line of more avant-garde glasses.
Zaro, who is based in the Los Angeles area, immediately saw the opportunity.
“Pharmacy reading glasses are often of poor quality and can appear to be designed with our parents in mind, leaving a great unmet need for sophisticated eyeglass options,” he said. “When Jennifer approached me to help me design her first line of glasses, I knew it was a brilliant idea.”
To differentiate themselves from lower-end readers, Cheeterz Club glasses are made from 100% acetate and feature spring hinges and stainless steel. Meanwhile, the lenses offer more clarity than is often found in reading glasses.
Typically, ophthalmic plastic lens materials have a Abbe’s Courage – a measure of the degree to which light is scattered or separated – between 30 and 58. A higher number gives better optical performance. Crown glass can have an Abbe value of up to 59, but polycarbonate readers (such as those from Warby Parker, Farrelly notes) would have an Abbe value of 30. Cheeterz Club lenses, which are CR-39 lenses, are at 58. This is a difference you may notice when you try on the glasses together with the pharmacy readers.
Cheeterz lenses also offer 100% UVA / UVB protection and are oil and water repellent. Optionally, they can be purchased in one of eight trendy shades, from pink to blue, or in two solar shades. Consumers can also choose to add a blue light coating to help with screen-induced eye fatigue or they can choose progressive lenses, which combine distance vision with a reading lens.
Tints are an additional $ 10, Blue Light protection is $ 25, and progressive lenses are $ 40.99, lower than market rates.
At launch, Cheeterz Club offers 14 different styles ranging from traditional to trendy, starting at $ 28.99.
Farrelly says finding the right price was key because, unlike regular glasses, consumers often purchase multiple pairs of readers to leave at home or in the car, pack in purses and bags, etc.
“If I break something that costs me a couple of $ 100, I would be very angry,” he says. “But at a pharmacy price of less than $ 30, I can have them in all kinds of different colors and tints.”
For Farrelly, making the startup a success goes beyond bringing higher-quality reading glasses to market. It’s also about serving an often overlooked demographic.
“The founders in the quarantine have no representation, and it’s a shame. And there are also people in their forties and fifties who have disposable income and are looking for nice things. They’re spending a lot of money on face creams and Botox, “she says,” but then you’re forced to put this really ugly pair of glasses on your face that makes you feel bad about yourself. “
While Cheeterz Club currently sells direct to the consumer, the company is talking to ophthalmologists, boutiques, and others who may eventually resell them, as yet another B2B model. He’s also testing the sale on Amazon with a pair of Blue Light glasses.
Cheeterz Club plans to begin discussing the fundraiser with initial investors later this fall.