Lensabl partners Mike Rahimzadeh (l) and Andrew Bilinsky.
NEW YORK—Two young internet entrepreneurs are launching a direct-to-consumer online service that sells only prescription lenses. The no-frills service, called Lensabl.com, debuted recently with a menu offering an assortment of clear lenses, sun lenses, reading lenses and lens treatments, most of them generic products with basic features.
Prices range from $77 for a pair for plastic single vision lenses to as $277 a pair for digital free-form progressives in high index plastic.
Consumers only need to provide Lensabl with a frame and a current prescription, and the company, which is based in Los Angeles, sends the frame to a nearby prescription lab. The lab then processes the lenses, mounts them in the frame and sends the completed eyeglasses back to Lensabl, which returns them to the customer in a specially designed box containing a case, cleaning cloth, cleaning spray and product literature. The turnaround time is two to four days.
Lensabl includes a lens cleaner, a cleaning cloth,
case and product literature along with its lenses,
which are mounted in a frame supplied
by the customer.
Lensabl co-founder Andrew Bilinski and partner Mike Rahimzadeh first saw an opportunity to sell prescription lenses online several years ago while operating an online eyeglass frame brand, Ivory & Mason. Customers began asking for lenses along with their frames, so the partners began supplying them with locally sourced lenses, which they sold at deeply discounted prices.
“We had a feeling there were a number of pain points involved with buying eyewear, and lenses were one of them,” Bilinski told Click. “When we saw a lab price list, we were blown away by the price difference between what they charge and what an optical store or optometrist charges. People would email us their Rx and we would literally cut the price in half.”
Customers liked the low prices as well as the convenience of getting new lenses without having to visit a retail store. So after exiting Ivory & Mason last year, Bilinski and Rahimzadeh began developing the Lensabl concept. Bilinski said the company has already attracted about $300,000 in seed money from investors, and sales are beginning to increase as Lensabl gains visibility through social media marketing and word of mouth.
Lensabl offers clear prescription lenses,
sun lenses and reading lenses.
“We’re offering a service for the masses by allowing people a new way of getting lenses,” said Bilinski. “Our version is the most convenient and cost competitive. Our pricing and process attracts customers. We cut 60 percent to 70 percent of the price compared with leading retailers.”
Bilinski acknowledged that there are advantages to buying lenses from a brick-and-mortar store where a qualified optician can match the lenses to the frame and fit the glasses on the patient. “You can’t do better than an in-person interaction,” he said.
However, Bilinski sees lenses as commodities and dismisses brand and performance distinctions. “Lenses are all the same regardless where you get them from,” he remarked, adding that “many people don’t need super sophisticated lenses.” He claimed Lensabl’s customers are satisfied with their purchases, and that remakes account for only 2 percent of sales, a number that compares favorably with many top labs and optical retailers.
Bilinski said Lensabl plans to expand in 2017. Several new features are under development, including a tool that will allow customers to take their own PD measurement. The company also plans to roll out a program in first quarter 2017 through which other online retailers can use its services. Plans are also underway to offer customers an online eye exam through Lensabl’s website.