DO GREAT GLASSES HAVE TO COST A FORTUNE?

Written by Saria Eid

bloobloom spectacles


The short answer is non. They don’t.

If you shine a light on the inner workings of the optical industry, it’s clear that some companies make huge profits from selling glasses at steep prices. It’s a controversial topic. As relative newbies in the eyewear world, we take a balanced view.

In truth, no-one’s really ripping you off. Eyewear can be expensive for a range of reasons: some logical, some organisational and some… not good. We learned this at the start, when we decided to offer a fresh take on the traditional way of doing (optical) business – while hopefully also taking some frustration out of a process buyers can find stressful.

How can high prices for glasses be justified?

The eyewear business has a multi-layered structure. If you decided to launch a new t-shirt company, you’d find that a muuuch simpler process!

Making and selling glasses usually involves many intermediaries: the brand, the licensee, the factory, the lens lab, the distributor, the retailer and so on. When each one takes a mark-up fee, customers can end up paying 10 times the real cost of a pair of glasses. That’s why at bloobloom there’s just us and the factories. Voilà.

Behind The Price Behind the bloobloom price

You’re gonna need a bigger boat…

There are obvious reasons why there’s limited competition in the optical market. Not many people launch new brands, because it’s a complex industry.

For a start, say hello to logistics: sourcing lenses, frames and components. Manufacturing comes next, assembling these elements into perfectly irresistible glasses. So irresistible in fact, that you need to create a rock-solid distribution network to share them with the world. And what brand worth its salt doesn’t offer great customer service from trained staff who know spectacles inside out? Alors, setting up can be complicated.

This is where things get frustrating

Most big brands – ones you probably know and wear – are licenced by a successful company called EssilorLuxotica, the union of Italian frames manufacturer Luxotica and French lens maker Essilor. As the market leader with exclusive availability of popular brands, they have free rein over prices, which tend to be high. If customers can only buy Dior frames from you, would you charge £95 when you can charge £295?

When it comes to frames, pricing is pretty straightforward and easy to compare. Lenses, not so much, due to their technical nature. It’s harder to understand the science behind lens quality, coatings and so on, so customers don’t always know exactly what they're paying for. You have to rely heavily on the optician’s advice, and some (not all) take advantage of that.

Outside cities, lack of competition can lead to inflated pricing. One bloobloomer was quoted such ginormous prices for varifocals by a local optician that she felt compelled to shop around. The fact that they close shop at 1pm on Fridays to go golfing made her feel less guilty about taking her business elsewhere…

Panique-pas, change is coming. In fact, it’s already here.

The bloobloom way

We want to create an amazing brand. One that people aspire to wear, one that you’re happy to choose over more commercial names. That’s why we stay in close contact with our factories and take care to hone each and every detail. It’s so we can give you an ethical product and a positive experience on a par with the big guys.

We do everything in-house, from designing, to dealing with makers, to selling direct. Cutting out the middlemen means we can offer exceptional quality and transparent prices with all the upgrades (anti-glare coatings, lens thinning) included as standard.

That was the long answer. But like we said at the start, the answer is non. Great glasses really don’t have to cost a fortune.

Merci.
PHOTOS: bloobloom
WORDS: Eileen MacCallum