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FramePunk: A new way of seeing things

The eyewear industry has seen some innovation in recent years but one sector that hasn’t been given too much attention is that of customisation. When you walk into an optician with the intention of buying glasses, there’s no leg-room for personalising your specks beyond selecting what they already have on offer.

Sure, you can go for a bold, red frame and they will tweak the glasses to sit on your face, but that’s usually the extent of it. This is where FramePunk found a gap in the market worth filling.

FramePunk was founded by 30-year-old Andreas in the heart of Kreuzberg. While it may appear to be a regular optician from the outside, it’s far from it. Specialising in 3D printed glasses, FramePunk is breathing new life into a fairly traditional industry and enabling customers to put a piece of themselves into the specks they produce.

Initially, 3D printing seemed unattainable, but now that the production and upkeep of the printers are somewhat more affordable and sustainable when compared to other means of production, smaller businesses have had a chance to get involved. There are multiple benefits to utilising 3D printing, one being the added layer of a unique retail experience that it creates.

But, the relatively new technology isn’t the only way Andreas is keeping his customers interested.

Where it all began

Our standards as consumers have gotten higher. The online world has made things faster and significantly easier, and our shopping habits have changed as a result, but so has our expectations of stores.

We are constantly looking to be impressed. More research goes into where we spend our money, and we are more concerned with the quality and production of what we purchase. As a result, retailers are having to go the extra mile.

And FramePunk has done just that.

From the age of 17, Andreas knew he would someday open an eyewear store. Coming from a family of optometrist’s, and being a glasses wearer himself, he was familiar with the pain points people faced when buying glasses. His goal was pretty clear, he wanted more happy glasses- wearers and he wanted to stay ahead of a competitive, evolving market.

So, the Berlin-based optician opened its doors in 2013, deciding to take a new approach to eyewear. We’ve seen 3D printers build prosthetic limbs, create entire homes in less than 24-hours and even produce food. While it’s clear the relatively new technology knows no bounds, its use in retail has the ability to revolutionise the industry.

Not only does it allow for customisation, but it can also create zero-waste products...

Made with love and lasers

3D printing does a lot more than bring FramePunk into the future of retail, it allows them to offer their customers a product that is 100% theirs. Andreas has been helping customers print their perfect bespoke specks for years now, and it’s this personal touch that keeps them coming back.

More often than not, glasses are mass-produced again and again. The result? Millions of copies of the same model with no individual flare whatsoever. 3D printing allows for the full customisation of every single pair of glasses FramePunk design, and the fact that no waste is created along the way is an added bonus.

There has been a rise in consumers intentionally seeking out ethical fashion, and this is far more than just a trend. The way our products are made is a growing concern, and 3D printing is a viable solution. If used correctly, it creates absolutely zero waste by printing one layer at a time with total precision.

Machine costs, labour costs and energy costs all reduce with the technology, making it a surprisingly environmentally friendly option. It also decreases the potential for errors and more or less eliminates the risks that we see in traditional manufacturing.

But FramePunk’s main reason for investing in the technology is to offer their clients high-quality glasses. The right size of glasses makes all the difference, that’s why they measure the head and eyes extremely accurately ensuring the perfect fit, a process that is often neglected in your everyday optician.

After being measured, customers are able to select everything from the size of the frame to the way it shapes their face.

Modern in more ways than one

"In retail, you have to perform exceptionally well every day."

Being self-employed with a small business, Andreas was fully aware he would face some challenges. As a micro-merchant with no investment backing, he knew he would not only have to be smart with the marketing but also with his offering.

If his products were going to be modern, the way in which he sold them had to be too. “10 out of 10” of his customers walked into his store expecting to pay with card, so it made sense to purchase an affordable card reader.

FramePunk has strongly positioned itself as a shop of the future, that always has the interest of those who shop there at heart.

The customer journey doesn’t end with picking out a product, it ends with a payment. And the personalised, individual experience he offers everyone who walks in his store should trickle down to how his customers decide to pay. Everything on their terms.

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Anna Marie Allgaier