October 08, 2013
Success coming into focus for startup Frameri
While Konrad Billetz stops well short of saying he developed the Frameri business model as a child, he does credit an incident during his youth for at least giving him better perspective.
"At 11 years old, I was accidentally shot in the eye with a BB gun, and doctors said I'd likely go blind. It took almost losing my vision for me to truly understand what it means to see, and little did I know, it turned into a mission to improve the way others see," said Billetz, Founder and CEO of Frameri.
Frameri now is edging ever-closer to that mission. The Cincinnati company makes boutique-quality frames to fit the same set of lenses, making them interchangable. "As your average twenty-somethings, we got tired of having to buy a new pair of glasses every time we wanted our eyewear to match what we were wearing. Even at a hundred-dollar price-point, having multiple pairs of glasses adds up, and the best way around that problem is to use only one pair of lenses between multiple frames," he said.
Billetz hasn't done it alone. His partners and co-founders Kevin Habich, Ted Lichtenberger and Caelan Urquhart all had similar stories-they had worn glasses their entire lives, yet as their styles changed, they found their glasses couldn't keep up. As a result, the founders combined their backgrounds in design, engineering and business to transform the optical experience and deliver the world's first interchangeable frame and lens system.
So what's next for Frameri? Just last week, the company graduated from the The Brandery entrepreneurial program and is currently in the midst of a successful crowdfunding campaign that should allow them to fund their first full-production run in Italy before debuting the initial collection online in early 2014. Additionally, the company joined the Chamber late last month to better prepare themselves for the growth of the business.
Billetz says the challenges for the company to get off the ground have been more than worth it. "Sure it's been hard. Very hard. But some products deserve to exist because they actually make people's lives better. And that's our goal: we want to make people's lives better," he said.