Practice Management

Bringing local back

Carrying American made eyewear is one approach that is very much within your control, continue reading to learn just some of the impacts making this one change can have.
Bringing Local Back.jpg
Published 8.25.2022

When I became involved in the eyewear industry almost 15 years ago, one of the things that surprised me most was the lack of American made frames. At one point a majority of eyewear sold in America was also made here. Now? Over 95% of the frames sold in the US are made overseas. Yes, in the US we still surface and edge lenses, but for many reasons, frame factories were moved offshore.

As a trusted wholesale company with dedicated customers, we at Eyenavision sought to enter the frame market. About 10 years ago we began importing frames from China and Italy. While we’re proud of the designs we helped create and have been successful selling quality frames at lower price points, we also encountered some complications.

It’s difficult to differentiate your line of eyewear when it’s coming from an overseas factory making frames for many other customers. We also encountered frustration when introducing new frame designs – it’s a complicated and lengthy process. So, we decided to do something both exciting and challenging. We set out to build our own factory for making acetate frames. We’re now the proud team behind North Point Eyewear.

We’re sure a lot of the problems we faced when importing frames from overseas sound all too familiar to Spyglass readers. As a business owner, optometrist, optician, or other eyecare professional, it’s increasingly important to differentiate yourself in a world where eyewear is dominated by a few big names and brands. So, we’re here to help.

Sure, we’re partial to our line at North Point Eyewear (NPE), but at the end of the day buying more domestically manufactured frames just makes sense.

5 great reasons to carry American Made frames

Streamlined Production Process

The frame import process is exhausting. It can take over a year to introduce a new model. Re-orders can take just as long. Recent supply chain issues have brought to light just some of the cost backorders and other long lead times can have on our business and the relationship we have with our customers. If things are made here, we drastically reduce the likelihood of stockouts.

Our in-house production process takes less than two weeks to complete a full production run. Relying on an overseas factory and the many layers of logistics companies just to get frames from Point A to Point B is convoluted on its face. North Point Eyewear’s factory is in Pittsburgh, PA; which makes addressing unforeseen patient emergencies a good deal less stressful. Our local factory can easily get those frames to you by tomorrow. Better yet, come visit our factory and pick them up yourself, straight from our final QC team.

Shop Local

Your success depends entirely on finding customers who support small and local business by shopping with you. Believe it or not, this is a growing trend among the largest buying demographic in America. When you practice what you preach and support small and local too, your patients will view your business as one that aligns with their social interests. It’s no secret that American manufacturing has been struggling for decades. By supporting made in the USA products, you’re helping to support the American worker and our economy.

Like you, we take pride in our team, and like you, the North Point Eyewear factory is a part of our local community. Rather than having a faceless company make aproduct your patient can find anywhere, team up with us. We can tell you which team member is responsible for each part of the production process. We know exactly where our raw materials come from, how they get here, and the conditions in which the final product is produced.

Feedback is Valued and Encouraged

If you wish a frame was just a little bit different, who do you tell? You might say something to a colleague, or even the frame line rep. Made in America eyewear means lean operations, with a team that relies on customer feedback. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear it. You are the professionals out on the floor of your optical shop each day. We want to know what works and what doesn’t.

Feedback from experts like you is invaluable, and we don’t take it lightly. Some examples of feedback we received on our first collection? Customers wanted brighter colors and larger sizes. Check and check. We sourced bright acetates and used our in-house designer to come up with new large frame designs, and added larger eye size options to our current collection. This is a chance to be a part of making your frame selection better suited to your patients and what they want.

Private Label and Customization

Private labeling is always a fun idea. Make it realistic with frames made in America. At North Point Eyewear, our private label customers feel confident knowing that our frames are the epitome of what they want to project for their brand: well-made, beautifully designed, and a physical product of the American can-do attitude. Why get your private label frames in bulk from an overseas factory, brought to you via a middleman? Consider that these generally subpar frames also come with heavy minimum order quantities (MOQs) to get off the ground.

Instead, work with a local partner that’s invested in your individual success to perfect your line. Our low MOQs mean that you don’t have to make a giant investment for product that may or may not sell. We incorporate your logo via laser engraving and hand painting (no cheap pad printing here!). We also give you options on color, designs, and more to ensure that you offer your loyal customers and patients a product they will love.

Agile Marketing and Sales Support

When is the last time a company called you up to see how they could help market their product to their customer? Rather than pushing for minimum sales each month, we work with each customer to understand their clientele. Every optical shop looks and feels different – why should you settle for the same marketing and displays that everyone else has?

Due to our size, we’ve found it increasingly rewarding to have one-on-one conversations between our customers, sales team, and marketing department. In a very practical sense, it is our job to help you sell our product, and we take that opportunity and responsibility seriously. Whether that comes in the form of a custom display, sign, or epic launch event, we want to see you succeed.

We’re passionate about what we do. What we do is make beautiful frames using a calculated combination of the latest technology and trusted traditional handwork. We believe that it's important for us to do our part to support each other in any way that we can. We‘re here not just as a vendor to our customers, but as a proven business partner that wants to make the optical world a better and more inclusive place.

Author
Joe Zewe, Owner and CEO of Eyenavision
Joe first became involved in Eyenavision as an investor in 2008 and joined the company as CEO in 2010. Eyenavision’s best known product is the patented Chemistrie Clip which is the number one selling custom made clip on in the US. The company also has an optical finishing lab and sells eyewear frames and reading glasses. In 2020, the company introduced Chemistrie Color, a patented lens to assist those who are color blind. In 2021, Eyenavision announced the opening of a frame manufacturing facility at Eyenavision’s Pittsburgh headquarters. The facility manufactures acetate frames under the brand North Point Eyewear. Joe and all of Eyenavision’s employees take tremendous pride in the customer service-oriented culture at the company. This dedication has enabled Eyenavision to build a distribution network that includes over 100 optical labs and 5,000 retailers who resell the company’s Chemistrie Clip products.