Audio Glasses For Music & More
Read Full Interview Here:
Perry: All of us have a smart piece of technology in our pockets or attached to our hips at all times. You may have had a beeper in the, what? Early 2000s probably. I remember my dad always getting paged on it. I don't know what he did on that beeper. You couldn't send too many messages. Now, we all use cell phones and we're on them all day long every day. Now imagine in five to 10 years, we're all going to be wearing smart eyewear and we are going to be on the smart eyewear all day. Maybe it'll be reading to us our Twitter feeds. Maybe we'll get election results live. Google Glass came out with their eyewear, I think probably in 2013 or '14. My dad actually had a pair. It was a total gimmick with the prism in front of you. But we've really evolved a lot since then. I was at Vision Expo East in Orlando. It was actually a good event. No whatever the media says.
I had fun. I think the vendors probably did okay. We showed up and took the risk. I came across a pair of glasses that was actually fairly stylish, and I tried it on and it had Bluetooth speakers in them and the eyewear was comfortable. They told me they can make my prescription, my minus six with a quarter cylinder in it, and I was enthusiastic. That's when I met the CEO, Harrison Gross. I have him on here with me. We're going to talk about eyewear, wearables, technology and what it means for your private practice and how you can sell it in your office and go from selling standard eyewear to selling technology-based eyewear and bring value to your patients. I hope that you guys order one for yourself as well. Welcome, Harrison.
Raymond: Looking for affordable high quality eyewear at a $19 wholesale price point that you could sell for $100 or more retail, well, let me tell you about Vernon Gantry. It's a frame brand developed by two New York City optometrists named Scott and Pauline. Their goal was to help fellow eyecare professionals compete in the ever-changing market. The Warby-ization, the zenni.com, everyone's going online to get cheap eyewear, and it's truly cheap and low quality. What they did is, they made their own frame line. About three years ago now actually, they eliminated the sales reps, the licensing fees, advertising costs and employed traditional eyewear companies to manufacture the products. These are really high quality Chinese production. I 100% vouch for this brand, no spring hinges, quality acetate, awesome metals. This actually feels like a brand. Those other brands, they're the cheapo frame lines you get in the kind of like welfare quality or a little above welfare, this completely blows it out of the water. It comes with a nice leatherette folding case.
Go to the show notes in the podcast app here, request a free frame. I will allow you to check it out, feel it, wear it, look at the quality of it. You will want to bring in 30 pieces of this right away. 30 pieces is probably around $600 or so. Again, you're going to get five, 6X mark up out of these. They come with warranties. They're all new. Great bread and butter styles with even lots of color if you want that. Guess what? Vernon Gantry has kids frames too. Go to the link in the show notes, request that frame, fill out the form, and this will forever change your practice. You can make great package pricing out of these frames. You can use them with insurance, and it's even great for second pairs. Because sometimes people may buy a $600 pair for the first pair, but the second pair, they just want 150 frame and lens. This is perfect for it. This is going to be your highest quality, fashionable frame in the $19 price point. It will blow all the other budget companies out of the water. Give it a look.
Raymond: Welcome to Eyetrepreneur: The Podcast for Wizards of Eyes. I'm Dr. Raymond with my co-host Perry
Perry: We're here to bring you stories about wizards of eyes. Yes. What is a wizard, Dr. Brill?
Raymond: These are folks that you may have heard about, may not have heard about, these are people who are actually very successful in doing what they do in all aspects of eyecare.
We're not talking to self-proclaimed industry geniuses, experts, masters or gurus, because we're talking to wizards of eyes that make it happen each and every day.
They are out there working every day, in the labs, on the road, in the practices, in surgery suites, making lenses, making frames. Yes. We want to hear these back of the house stories about innovation, entrepreneurship and make you feel excited to do what you do. We want you to be energized about the whole eyecare field. This is not your big optical program. This is done out of the passion of our hearts.
Perry: Please go ahead and subscribe to Eyetrepreneur: The Podcast for Wizards of Eyes on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, or your favorite app. Also visit eyetrepreneur.com where you'll find our latest blogs and special video content. That's www.E-Y-E-T-R-E-P-R-E-N-E-U-R.com.
All of us have a smart piece of technology in our pockets or attached to our hips at all times. You may have had a beeper in the, what? Early 2000s probably. I remember my dad always getting paged on it. I don't know what he did on that beeper. You couldn't send too many messages. Now, we all use cell phones and we're on them all day long every day. Now imagine in five to 10 years, we're all going to be wearing smart eyewear and we are going to be on the smart eyewear all day. Maybe it'll be reading to us our Twitter feeds. Maybe we'll get election results live. Google Glass came out with their eyewear, I think probably in 2013 or '14. My dad actually had a pair. It was a total gimmick with the prism in front of you. But we've really evolved a lot since then. I was at Vision Expo East in Orlando. It was actually a good event. No whatever the media says. I had fun. I think the vendors probably did okay. We showed up and took the risk.
Introducing Bluetooth Glasses...
I came across a pair of glasses that was actually fairly stylish, and I tried it on and it had Bluetooth speakers in them and the eyewear was comfortable. They told me they can make my prescription, my minus six with a quarter cylinder in it, and I was enthusiastic. That's when I met the CEO, Harrison Gross. I have him on here with me. We're going to talk about eyewear, wearables, technology and what it means for your private practice and how you can sell it in your office and go from selling standard eyewear to selling technology-based eyewear and bring value to your patients. I hope that you guys order one for yourself as well. Welcome, Harrison.
Harrison: Hey, Perry. Thanks so much for having me. I'm glad to be here and talk to your audience a little bit about the smart eyewear revolution that we're on the cusp of.
Perry: Yeah. I'm going to add to my little story here. My dad, I got to give him some props. He's a techie for a 60 whatever he is. He always was into technology based eyewear. It started with a company called PixelOptics. Probably you haven't heard of it. But basically they had electronic eyewear. It had lenses in it that would auto-focus in lieu of progressive lenses. It was a failure. It was too heavy and they couldn't produce the lenses. Then Google Glass, my dad got that. We actually had one person who drove from Manhattan state or K State college, this Asian gentlemen, super techie, and he won an MRx. We thought, "Oh man, we're going to crush it with Google Glass. We're going to make a ton of money, get all these referrals." Well, that ended pretty quickly.
Then came across something called Adlens Focus. It had a liquid crystal in it. You adjust your prescription with that. Those were Rx, 1,000 bucks for a pair or 2,000 bucks. But I think those were all hopes and dreams, but I think I've found the solution and you have it right here. Why don't you tell us your professional background and how you developed a Lucyd eyewear?
Harrison: Well, it's kind of a long story, but I've been working on brand development and marketing for quite a while. I was working for an IP investment firm called Tech Capital, which basically finds interesting university technologies and turns them into startups. We came across this very interesting portfolio of technologies out of the UCF optics lab surrounding smart eyewear. I was tasked with essentially packaging and selling these patents. But our business model changed a little bit after that and we realized that we needed to actually commercialize and bring those technologies to market ourselves. That was the Genesis of Lucyd. We had this very interesting selection of optical patents, and we built a great team of leading opticians, and optical researchers, and computer vision people, all kinds of AR specialists, wearable specialists. We really have been working for several years in creating the first mass market smart eyewear product. Now, to make a mass market smart eyewear product, it's not just a one skew and done task. You have to make several styles that fit a wide variety of users.
You also have to meet all their optical requirements. It has to be suitable for all day prescription wear, and also has to have a long battery life. It has to not heat up like some of the early smart eyewear products did. You really have to tick quite a long list of boxes in order to create a product that works as functional eyeglasses but also has useful tech features in it. We think we've achieved that with this Lucyd Lyte product that I'm wearing right now actually. Which if I didn't tell you, you probably wouldn't know that it a smart eyewear. But this actually has integrated Bluetooth chips. I can listen to music. I can use the touch controls to talk to Siri or Google Voice. I can take phone calls. There's a microphone integrated into the glasses. These actually come in at 1.2 ounces. They really weigh the same as a regular pair of glasses. We use standard optical front plates, so they can be fit with any prescription.
The best part is probably the price, which is only 150 US. It really comes in at about the same price as what you'd pay for a designer sunglass or a normal pair of glasses in any optical store.
Perry: Yeah. I want to call attention to one thing. For many of you probably listening to the podcast, you're audio only right now. Harrison and I are on video. He's a minus 11. That's 11.00. He's wearing an Rx in these. Obviously the lenses are going to be thicker. That's natural, but it is an acetate front. It's not like some weird acrylic or other polymer. It's actually acetate, right?
Harrison: Yeah. To achieve that, we actually had to do something that's a bit different from the other smart eyewear out there. All the other smart eyewear products have wiring that runs through the front plate, which really limits the materials that you can use. You have to use injection molded plastic or something similar to that. By using completely independent Bluetooth chips in the arms with nothing connecting them through the front, we're able to do the standard acetate front plate. That makes it a lot more for optical wear. We're also coming out with a couple of titanium front models. Which will actually be the first metal front smart eyewear product on the market. That's very exciting as well. Those, while they won't be able to handle a minus 11 ... Well, I mean they could, but it'll look really thick on the side. Those are also going to be really great for optical wear. The titanium front models we're working on actually come in at 1.1 ounces. Really a parity with the weight. As you may know, in eyewear, weight translates to comfort.
We really think that with this lightweight smart eyewear that looks and feels like regular glasses and has all the convenience factors of the Bluetooth headset built into it, we really think this product can potentially help bring smart eyewear to the mass market, to the mainstream for the first time. Because there've been so many things precluding the use or the general regular daily use of other smart eyewear products that have existed up until this point.
Perry: Okay. I wanted to set the stage here for why someone would wear a smart eyewear first of all. Let's say in one year your frames are drop dead sexy. Actually, the second gen, I don't know what you call it, that I saw at Vision Expo, those metal frames. What's it called?
Harrison: The titanium fronts. Yeah.
Perry: Those are fricking cool. They were just like ... It almost looked like a ic! berlin with real thin metals. It was really awesome. They came with some smaller sizes for my pea head. Why would someone want to be always connected to their phone? Why do we need that? Now, I say that because I think a lot of us make fun of people who always have their AirPods in. It's like, "What are you doing with your AirPods all day? Who are you talking to? Are you listening to music? Are you trying to zone people out?" Then there was that time where people would walk around with their Bluetooth headsets, five or eight years ago and like, "Why do you have to wear that around? Who's calling you?" What's up with-
Harrison: You look like you're talking to yourself. Yeah.
Perry: Yeah. What's up with wearables? What can we look forward to with this technology?
Harrison: Well, the one way I would put it is that, this is a technology that frees you from other technologies. Because now instead of having to pull out your phone to look at the map or to make a phone call or to send a text message or to do any number of these other things, even sending money, now, all I have to do is click this and then I can interact with Siri or Google Voice. I can perform that same action in about three seconds flat. Without pulling out my phone without losing focus, without breaking my connection to the people around me. That sort of flexibility of this technology is really useful because I'm still here, I'm connected to my digital life, but I'm also present in the moment and I'm not missing what's going right in front of my face. One thing that we point to a lot is that, it's actually could be safer, especially in a lot of outdoor scenarios than regular headphones. Because since the listening of the glasses is open ear, the audio is open ear, you can hear everything around you.
You can hear traffic, you can hear people around you. We find that for a lot of outdoor use cases like running and cycling, it's actually safer than regular headphones because you still have your situational awareness.
Perry: Yeah. I will say, this just happened an hour ago, I have a Tesla Model 3. I'm going down this narrow road. This guy has his headphones in. My car is silent, it doesn't make much noise. He's on his headphones and he had no clue I was behind him. I inched up behind him and he finally saw me out of the peripherals and scooted over a few feet, but that's just a scenario. That could be in the city, that could be anywhere. Yeah.
Harrison: Well, what it translates to in real terms is, between 2008 and 2018, the number of pedestrians that have died in a fatal accident has risen by 60%. The only thing that can really be attributed to is excessive smartphone usage by both drivers and pedestrians. if you have a scenario where the driver doesn't need to look at the map, he could just hear his directions through his glasses, and the pedestrian on the street is able to listen to their music while they're walking around and still be able to hear even quiet cars like a Tesla coming up on them, it just creates a lot less of a likely scenario that an accident will happen. Because people are in the moment. They're not looking down. Not even talking about the whole ergonomics of the phone, which is very kind of sketchy. Just being able to lift all of these tasks up into the glasses or other wearable, it just frees you from that display. The more that you can do, then you become accustomed to doing with your voice, it's just going to be a little bit more convenient.
Pulling out your phone and actually breaking your focus from the real world around you
Perry: Right. Another reason I ... Well, let me describe the profile of these glasses. I have a pair. I actually got a Rx pair made for myself because I wanted one. I need it. To the audience that's listening, I'm going to show it on video here too. It looks like a normal translucent pair of glasses, clear frame front, which is pretty popular right now. I went for the white temples. They come in black because I just want it to look like a tech product. Since I'm in the industry, I want people to ask me, "What the heck are those?" I want them to stand out because I want to promote it. The only thing that ... It almost has like a wafer shape to it that you'd find on a Ray-Ban. The only thing that's strikingly different about it, the side profile looks like a pair of glasses. But when you flip it over, the temple tips do have some thickness to it. I would say like, what five millimeters thick?
Harrison: You mean past the ear or in general, like the width of the arm itself?
Harrison: Yeah, the width.
Harrison: Got you. Yeah, it's about there. It's really, from the front and from the sides, you can't ... It's only when you look down, you can kind of see the extra little bit of thickness on the arm. Someone else can maybe see that maybe those glasses, they might have more than meets the eye.
Perry: There's a little extra… beyond where the ear meets the head, and that's just due to getting all the technology in there from what you told me.
Harrison: Yeah. The batteries are actually in the tips on the end behind the ear. But beyond that little bit that sticks out from the ear. You won't to be able to see it because of my hair. But it really does look and feel like normal glasses, and that is just absolutely ... Okay. Yeah.i see it goes a little bit further on you.
Perry: Yeah. My dimensions are not normal. I always need shorter temples, which you're coming out with.
Harrison: Yeah, definitely coming out with more styles. Absolutely. but yeah, you can't just adjust people's comfort zones, especially with eyewear. We have to create a product that fits in the existing comfort zone. That's been a big challenge with Lucyd, in just creating something that people look at it, they immediately register it as glasses, not as something else. Then they're pleasantly surprised by all the useful tech features that it has under the hood. That's been a really a key challenge. People they don't want to stick out like a sore thumb. If they would stick out, they want it to be for positive, fashionable reasons, not for, "Your glasses look crazy bulky. What's going on with them?"
Perry: Yeah. It always kind of ... Maybe it's a pet peeve of mine. Just when people are walking around in any kind of crowded environment and they have their headphones in, they become unapproachable. It could be your own friends. It could be people you don't know. You know if someone has their headphones in there, they're signaling leave me alone. But if I'm wearing glasses, let's say I'm walking up the street, I'd have to take my headphones out, put them away. But with wearing eyewear, I could walk right up to the coffee counter, order my oat milk latte, and I could have a conversation. This kind of brings me to the topic of, when I tried your eyewear on at Expo, I don't even know how to describe the experience. I put the glasses on. You had some audio playing. Maybe it was a podcast or some music on there. But while I was listening to the audio, you were actually talking to me and I could hear you and have a conversation. Now immediately, my attention went from listening to the music to listening to you, focusing on you.
Can you describe that experience and what that technology is where we can hear the outside environment, but also here who we're trying to talk to?
Harrison: Yeah. I mean, essentially it's like open your audio. Instead of projecting the sound directly into your ear canal, it's like there's too mini Bluetooth speakers that project the sound sort of in an aura around your head. That aura kind of gels with the other sounds that are in your environment rather than conflicting with them like it would with normal headphones. Or blocking them out like it would with normal headphones. Because your ear canals are completely open. They're not obstructed. You get this kind of pleasant mix of your music and then the conversation, and the ambient noise in the environment. Of course, you have these volume controls on the glasses, so you can very quickly go down volume or go up volume like that. You can really adjust to the situation at hand very quickly. But essentially, it's like, you take what would be like a normal Bluetooth speaker that you'd bring to the beach and you minimize that a hundred times, and then you stick that in here, and then you have a product basically.
Perry: That's a good analogy.
Harrison: Yeah. It's like, rather than an in your headphone, it's sort of like a tiny boombox in the glasses that plays the music in an aura around you. There's positives, and of course there are a few negatives to that. You might not want to use it in a classroom where there's a little bit of sound leakage. You don't want to start people around you in a quiet environment. But in any sort of normal environment where there's regular sound happening, it's not going to disturb any other users or any other people in your area rather. But instead, you'll be able to enjoy your music or podcast and communicate with them totally seamlessly.
Perry: If I were on a airplane, which there's already a lot of ambient noise in the cabin, would I be able to hear my audio, you think?
Harrison: Yeah. You don't want to use it in sort of the mass transit. That's one of the few scenarios where it doesn't shine just because you don't want to disturb people. It's sort of like if someone was listening to headphones really loudly next to you, you can have a little bit of blow back. It's kind of like that. You don't want to necessarily do that when you're on a subway next to somebody or you're maybe in the car with someone. But for outdoor use, for when you're alone, for when you're out shopping, exercising, at the gym, all of these other scenarios, it's perfect for it. There's no one size fits all situation for everything, but when you're out and about, just generally out around town or when you're on the job, it can be quite superior to headphones just because you're not disconnected from your environment. Also, for many people, they're not able to wear headphones when they're working. Everyone's allowed to wear glasses.
You have a huge number of frankly menial and/or boring jobs which can be greatly enriched by the glasses just because you're still following your normal protocols, but you have the benefit of essentially unlimited audio content throughout your day. With the eight hour battery life, it can actually last for a whole shift.
Perry: Yeah. I had a staff member, part of the job was ... One morning, for three or four hours, she had to do preparation of charts. Really monotonous work. Clicking, there was no intelligent thought. Her only wish is to listen to a podcast, I think criminal or some murder podcast. I was like, "You know what? If that makes you happy and you can get your job done, great." But I always know if I need something, I have to interrupt her, literally flag her down. She can't hear me.
Harrison: It's not professional. Especially for anybody that's interacting with clients. But on the other side, extremely busy professionals like doctors, optician, people like that, they love it too because they can get their phone calls just like that. They take the phone call on the glasses. They're not interrupted from their flow with the patient. I had my dentist ask me for a pair. She's like, "I just want to be able to listen a little bit of music while I'm drilling people. Then I hear all kinds of feedback from people, that it just makes their job easier. It's great. It's fun. It's sort of like a toy in some ways, but it's also this really useful and necessary tool for some people. Like for example, a postal worker told me she loves the glasses. It completely changed her work life. She's not able to wear headphones, but she needs some protection all day.
The product just came together and just works for her. I had a medical professor in the Dominican Republic ordered 30 units because he wanted to give them all to his students so he can talk to them hands-free while they work in surgery. Just the level of convenience and ... My aunt's ex-boyfriend is a contractor and he uses it so he doesn't have to pull out his walkie-talkie. He can just have a voice channel open with his guys on his glasses.
Perry: With that, comes ... I'm an efficiency, productivity nut, and I just like things that get the job done. I'll give you one. I use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, text, LinkedIn messages, a zillion other messaging apps. What happens is, I have all these tabs open on my computer for all the messaging systems, but I have an app that truncates it all into one app, and this is a lot easier for me. That's just one example. What are use cases with Siri, and ... Is it Google Echo or what do they call it?
Harrison: Alexa or Google Voice.
Harrison: Google Voice.
Perry: ... and Google Voice. What are cases we could use the glasses with for that?
Harrison: There are tons of compatible apps already that you can use through the glasses. But you have the most flexibility on Android devices because you can switch to your key assistant to Alexa or Google Voice or whichever you prefer. Whereas on iPhone, you're restricted to Siri, which is also a little bit less capable than the Google and Alexa formats. But there's tons of stuff you can do. You can use Cash App and Venmo so you can send money through the glasses.
Harrison: Yeah. You can initiate a text message. You can actually dictate a text message to be sent. You could have your inbox read out to you. Your native messaging inbox.
Perry: Online forms for your EHR, do you have them? Can your patients get a notification before their appointment that they need to fill out their patient information? That includes demographics, medical history, patient questionnaires. Then all that information is funneled right back into your EHR in the correct fields. Whether it's OfficeMate, Revolution, Crystal, LiquidEHR, Eyefinity, Uprise, you name it. There's a new company out there called Opti-Xpres and they specialize in developing custom online forms that sync right back into your EHR in the correct fields. Do you even know how much time your front desk spends typing addresses and birth dates and medical insurance cards into the great field? Probably 2, 3, 4 hours a day. It's ridiculous. Then if the patient shows up late, the whole exam process is just back flowed throughout the whole day and people are waiting. You need online forms if you want to increase productivity in the office.
Plus patients don't want to sit there 15 minutes before an exam filling things out. They want to do it on their mobile device ahead of time. What are you waiting for? Get in touch with Opti-Xpres. They will custom build it for you. The process is, you send them your current forms. Just scan it in, send a PDF, take a picture of it, whatever. They will build a form for you, show you the proof, and then sync it with your EHR with their awesome machine learning technology. This is not too good to be true. You need automation in your practice. Go to the link in the show notes to learn about Opti-Xpres and how they can help you increase your efficiency within your practice. They do all the other normal stuff like appointment reminders, online schedulers that sync with your EHR, reputation management. Frankly, they were founded by an OD and he developed this company out of the frustration of things that he did not have with other systems. Go to the link in the show notes to get more information. You'll be glad you did.
Are these phones settings like we would have to adjust?
Harrison: No. This is all already ready to go on ... Whatever you can do through Siri or Google Voice on your phone, you can do through the glasses.
Perry: Well, would I have to ask my phone, Hey, Google ... My phone's ... I'm not going to say the word. But, Hey G, read my last email. Was that the command?
Harrison: Yeah. Essentially, I think on Google, you're going to have probably more luck than on Apple. On Apple you can have a dictation of your last incoming messages and emails if they're using the native Apple apps. It's a little bit more fluid. Whereas Google, you might be more flexible. You can be like, "Hey, open my Yahoo mail." Or, "Read out my new Yahoo messages." There might be a little bit more capability on that side. Generally, it's better for the more personal tasks, not necessarily for communication just because you don't have that level of fine tuning that you do when you have a keyboard open. I think it was great for sending a voice message or initiating a phone call, just so I can just be like, "Hey, call dad." Then it just calls him. I don't have to pull out my phone and get sucked into a couple of different apps and turn it into a 15 minute thing. It's great for the simple things like sending money, getting directions, getting the time of day, getting the weather, getting all of these things that you can do.
You can actually translate it to 12 languages through Siri from English. I can be like, "Hey, how do I say, I'll take a hamburger in Japanese?" Then the glasses will read it back to me. You have all kinds of really useful use cases. Obviously it comes down to, what people use the most I would say is just listening to their audio content, whether it's podcasts or music, and taking phone calls. Those are the two main use cases. Just the convenience of having that in your glasses, just cannot be understated. Because there is a pretty major factor to that. But then you have all these other things, the PayPal, the Venmo. There's some interaction with Twitter and news apps. You can get ... But really it's key for communication, I would say, and then for listening to your audio content. Then if you're a fan of Siri and okay Google and Google Voice, you'll find it extremely useful. If you don't already use those things, you may not start using them once you get the glasses. But it will make it easier if you do want to use them.
I do know that some people will activate the wake word on Google, like, okay, Google. That allows you to interact with the voice assistant without even touching the glasses at all. You don't even have to activate the touch button. You can just be like, "Okay, Google, read me my last email." Just totally hands free. That's another major benefit to the Android devices over Apple devices, because Apple only allows you to use, Hey, Siri, through Apple branded headphones. Which is a little scummy on their part.
Perry: What? I didn't know that.
Harrison: Yeah. you can only do it on Beats headphones or on AirPods.
Perry: Wow. That is scummy. That's crazy.
Harrison: Yeah, it is a little scummy. But anyway-
Perry: I get it. I get it. I'm not against [crosstalk 00:31:09]-
Harrison: Yeah. They have products to sell, whatever.
Perry: Generally when we think of smart eyewear, I know we're used to, Snapchat had their glasses and I think they even have another generation that...
Harrison: There's like four of them.
Perry: ... now. Okay. They're supposed to record the environment around us and recognize objects and do all these crazy intergalactic, Jetson stuff. But that has not actually been mass market yet. I guess, are you at the forefront? Are you behind? Are you practical? Where are you in the space and how does your technology relate to our listeners who are mainly bricks and mortar optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians?
Harrison: I mean, we're up and coming company, but we are pioneers in smart eyewear, I would say. Because we've already done a couple of things that we were first at. We were the first company to deliver a prescription fitted smart eyewear product back in 2018. The first. We were the first company that you were able to just order a prescription fitted any type of smart eyewear product from. That was one of our kind of feathers in our cap, I guess you could say. Currently, we have six styles on offer, which is more than any other smart eyewear product has on offer to my knowledge. We are already offering more variety than any of the competing products. But most importantly, we've always approached it from an optical perspective because all four co-founders of the company are all day glasses wearers. From the beginning, we recognized the outset that this first will be eyewear industry product before it goes into sort of the hearables and audio worlds. We've always approached that, like, "How do we get this suitable for all day optical wear?" We've been maniacally focused on that from day one.
The result is a product that actually achieves that. It's taken all four years and it's taken a tremendous amount of interaction with our community. We're actually a fully crowdfunded business. Which is pretty cool. We have a couple thousand people from around the world that support the brand and give us excellent feedback on our products. We do beta tests of all our new products before we release them with our community. We use that feedback to really create a pair of glasses that people love. You have to start from that. That has to be the center of your focus, is creating a pair of glasses that people genuinely love.
Perry: Yeah. I will say, what I really like about your product is, you guys do understand it comes first. I think you even said in the next year or two years, I don't know what your timeline is, you're going to have 30 different styles or something.
Perry: You understand that we have to look good and feel good. The moment a pair of glasses hurts our nose and causes pressure and pain, the moment you take that pair of glasses off, we never want to wear it. It's undeniable you will never do it again. A pair of shoes, you can go out in a pair of heels or small shoes and kill your feet for two hours and you'll recover. But eyewear, it's not a two hour product, it's an all dayer.
Harrison: Yeah. It's not just that, it's, since it's on your face, there's a level of projection of your personality that is expressed in your eyewear. It's a much larger part of your identity than your shoes are because it is such a huge part of your appearance. I mean, it's the lens through which you see the world through which the world sees you. It's such a critical factor to really have that optionality and have the range of styles and sizes that really can fit every youth. None of the other smart eyewear products recognize that need. You can't just come out with one to three black styles and call it a day. You really do have to go the distance and have a full board of frames in this product category to make it…
Perry: I want to talk about the business model that you have prepared for wholesalers. No minimums from what I understand, right?
Perry: Bring it in, try it.
Harrison: Yeah. Part of us being community funded is that we're also very community focused. We want to create a positive experience, not just for the end-user, but for everyone that we're involved with. We try to make it really easy to onboard because we know there's a lot of skepticism in the eyewear industry surrounding new products. People are very skeptical that these products are optical quality or that they could really be worn all day, or they really are useful to have those tech features. We want to overcome that by derisking the onboarding as much as possible for the optical industry. Again, like you mentioned, we have no minimum order. We have omnichannel pricing. The retail price is the same where we sell it online or when you sell it in the store. We have a very simple to understand 100% markup on the product for the wholesalers. We're also working on a digital display, sort of like a little tablet on a stand to educate the customers in the stores about the products so that the opticians don't have to or the…
Perry: Yeah. I mean, if you pick up the glasses and they were on a shelf, no one would even know it has…
Harrison: Yeah. Exactly.
Perry: ... batteries in it. It just looks like anything.
Harrison: Yeah. We're trying to really equip the stores that work with us with the tools they need to get the sale through and to succeed with the product. We think it's a great addition for them because it's a whole new product category. It doesn't cannibalize their existing sales. It's an additional pair, second or third pair that they can sell to the customer for the weekend, for the book. Some customers want wearing it as their main glasses for sure. But it's a very easy sell as a weekend vacation pair or sunglass more so than selling them on a second sunglass pair. Because most people get transitions now anyways.
Perry: Yeah. Here's your budget for a dress pair. Let's say I spend 500 bucks. Now, the optician is sitting there and they're like, "Oh man, now I got really got to work at the second sale. This is going to be tough because this is going to be like a luxury for them to have two pairs." But when you whip this puppy out, Lucyd, and you put it on, I think their brains going to go to a different side of thinking.
Harrison: Yeah for sure. This would be great for on the boat, on the golf course, on the bicycle. That comes to mind to people once they try on the glasses. It's such a tremendous convenience factor, not having to deal with the headphones, of being able to just kind of be free from the wires and the having to deal with that. It's quite nice.
Perry: Yeah. You're able to make the lenses too. You guys have lab relationships and you bust them out pretty quickly. What's the turnaround time for a single vision lens roughly?
Harrison: We cut single visions. Usually we'll ship out same day if ordered before 3:00 PM. Progressives take about a week. Then obviously for unusual prescriptions, like my eyes, for example, it takes me two, three weeks to get them. But I have a very unusual prescription.
Perry: If wholesalers want to do their own lens work, could they do that too? If they have an edger in-house, can they cut their own?
Harrison: We actually encourage our optical resellers to cut their own lenses. One, because they're able to charge their markup and get an additional profit on the frame through the lenses. Two, because they're more familiar with the customer's eyes. There's a higher probability that the lens will be accurate because they're able to take additional focal point measurements and do other things that we can't do online. I think that ... Not to mention the fact that the customer can really interact with the product and they can do a manual adjustment on the front plate for the customer, and all of these other things that just ... Obviously going into a shop and talking to an optician is not going to be replaced by an app anytime soon. It's something that still is very much a brick and mortar business. I think that if you're an optician, that's your core competency, is your lenses. You're not going to firm that out and we don't want you to firm that out.
Perry: Yeah. It's a standard acetate. There's nothing special about it. If you can cut the lenses for acetate, you can cut for this.
Harrison: I'm sorry. I was going to say we ship them with Plano polarized UV400 sunglass lenses. So they can be sold as a Plano sunglass as well. Sort of like an impulse purchase at the checkout or something like that, or as a gift for someone else. We give them the flexibility. It arrives as a Plano sunglass with a high quality TAC lens so you can sell it out of the box like that. Or you can you can easily pop out the Plano lenses and put it in a prescription.
Perry: Okay. I know a lot of you out here are going to want to buy it. My advice for sales on this is, if you're an optician or optometrist selling this, you will not sell one if you do not show it. You're not going to sell any. It's a probability game. I'm sure you guys offer sales training and stuff like that and how to present it because people are not thinking like techies like us. They're not thinking of the use cases. They're thinking of all the reasons they don't need it. A lot of them are ... Just because if you're an optician, maybe you would not utilize it, but to somebody else, it might be all the world to have this.
Harrison: Well, there's two things we kind of suggest. One, we like to ... If you onboard with us and you buy a couple of units, we'll hook up your lead sales person with a prescription pair or a regular pair if don't want a prescription. They're going to wear it. There's a blue LED when it's paired up that shines on the outside of the glasses. You will have customers asking about, "Why are your glasses lighting up? Hey." I think that's one thing that we can do. Then, again, like I mentioned, it's really excellent as an add on pair because everyone's so in their comfort zone. If people are coming in to buy regular glasses, they're going to buy regular glasses. But while they're there and you while you're waiting on someone in the back to do something or to get that other frame or to do whatever, you can be like, "Hey, check out these Bluetooth glasses." You get another sale on the spot like that. I think as soon as people wear it, they generally want ... I mean, at Expo, real talk, I brought 60 units. I sold every single one of them.
Almost every single optical business that came up to the booth, bought a pair on the spot, like 80% of them. That just shows that like, if ... The opticians are the most selective people when it comes to ... Literally the most selective because they're the ones making a living off of it. If all of these opticians said, "Hey, yeah, I'm going to take this." I think that points to that you're going to have kind of similar rates with the customer as well. Because if the highly skeptical and incredulous opticians are walking away with the Lyte without even thinking about it for more than 30 seconds, I'm pretty confident the customers will as well.
Perry: From a doctor's standpoint and a busy clinic, I can see a use case for this as well. Let's say I need a tech two exam room four, let's say I'm walking down the hallway and I come up with that thought, "Hey, Julie, I need you in exam room four, please." Then just send that message off over whatever app, Teams or text that you're using. You have some competitors out there, and I think it'd be good to address that and how you differentiate. You're a small fry out there in a big sea of technology. Amazon has their own thing and then Bose has theirs. I don't know. Exotic has been messing around with all sorts of stuff for years, Ray-Ban and Oakley. Where do you fit into there? What's Amazon doing?
Harrison: Well, Amazon and Bose, they both kind of have a similar product. It's more suitable for non optical sunglass use. But they don't have standard optical front plates, so they're harder to fit a lens into. More importantly perhaps, they don't look as attractive. Which, and not to toot our own horn or anything, but we think our glasses look like normal acetate glasses. The Bose frames and the Amazon frames have much thicker arms. It just looks like an obvious smart eyewear product. Which not everyone is in the market for that. Most people are not in the market for that. The other thing which is very important is the price point. Our retail price is 149 US, and the Amazon and Bose products, the newest versions, both retail for 249 US. That $100 difference is a big one, especially for millennials, people that have been out of work because of COVID. The economic situation in general is, well, a lot of people are tight right now. Not just in the US, but worldwide. We think that that price differentiation is extremely important. Especially because it's a new product category that people aren't intimately familiar with.
Harrison: That really does help derisk it. Because a 150 purchase for a great pair of sunglasses is already a normal purchase that people make. You add in the fact that it's also headphones, and suddenly they're getting 300, $250 worth of product for 150. That's another way that we stand out. But I think really what it comes down to is the usability for all day optical wear. There's really no other product that kind of matches that of what we've achieved with the Lucyd Lyte product. They're just not attractive or comfortable enough to be worn as all day glasses. Then when you add in the fact that they cost more and their touch controls, frankly, aren't as good either as on our glasses ... Because we've gone through so many versions of them. We really know what customers are looking for in terms of the interface.
Perry: What about battery life? I know that's going to be probably one of your top three questions people ask. I guess let's talk weight and life and other issues...
Harrison: Yeah, sure. No, definitely. We actually do outclass Bose and Amazon on battery life. We have eight hours of playback in a low to medium volume. About six and a half hours on max volume. We're coming at 1.2 to 1.4 ounces with our current styles. The Amazon frame is on parity with the weight, but not on the battery life. Their battery life is only around three hours. Then the Bose frames come in at five hours of battery and 1.56 ounces. Once you're getting up to the upper half towards two ounces, no longer a normal optical weight. Every little bit is quite different. It makes me makes a big difference. The battery life is also extremely critical because people don't want to charge their glasses every single night. With our average user, they listen to music two hours a day on the glasses. They charge it once every four days. There's a nice feature in that as well.
Then not just playback time, but we have a very, very long standby time of 160 hours for charge. You can stay on Bluetooth standby connected to your device for days without charging the glasses. That's also pretty unique. That's why we have those longer tips, is just to give it that bit of extra battery.
Perry: By Bluetooth standby, what does that mean? The unit's always on, but it's not playing audio?
Harrison: Yeah. It's on, it's connected to your phone, but it's dormant. Not actively playing music. But if you get a phone call, it's going to ring and you answer it.
Perry: Got it. I'm not turning it on every time I need to use it. It's on standby.
Harrison: Well that's the thing, personally, when I'm done using it, I hold the button for five seconds and I turn it off. I preserve the battery for as long as possible. It's that easy. Okay. You're done with the glasses. You turn them off, that's it. When you want to turn it back on, you'd have to click both because the arms are independent. Both, three seconds it's on.
Perry: Okay. You can't see Harrison here, but he's actually just holding the top horn of the eyewear. There's the little button there. It's-
Harrison: The button is ... Yeah. Sorry, let me show you a little closer. There's two gold buttons you can see on the bottom of the arms here. These offer a huge number of touch controls. You can reduce volume, you can increase volume, you can activate Siri with a long touch like that. You get a phone call coming in, it switches into call mode and you can answer or reject the call. Then you can also skip tracks by triple clicking. We packed in a huge number of functionalities into these two buttons.
Perry: Okay. Now, as far as online consumers go, you're just getting into the bricks and mortar market, what's your feedback? Are people asking, "Hey, where can I buy these locally?" Do they want to do the whole direct to consumer thing, a mix?
Harrison: It's a mix for sure. Some people love just the one and done online process. Some people order the frames and bring them into their optician. I think that there's really no one answer to that. It's kind of a blend of everything. But we find that about half or maybe about 45% are optical, 55% Plano. That's what we've found so far about ... Of the optical, most people get them with transitions. But there's a lot of ... Everybody has their personal preference, but we try to make it super easy to just order from us through the website. But we also want to empower the optical stores and this new product category. We try to give them a lot of resources and we don't undercut them on price or anything online. We try to just make it kind of simpatico both for our own direct to consumer business and for our resellers. Which we think is really important. As we release more styles, I have a strong feeling that it's going to become more of an in-store product than it is an online product.
I think we're going to do a lot more sales through the optical stores than we will do online. I have a feeling that some stores, especially with younger management, are going to run on this product and they're going to sell them to every customer.
Perry: Yeah. I feel like by the time, like you said, you have 30 styles, you're going to have a store in a store and it's going to be, "Here's our technology section. Go have fun with it." I don't go to big box stores very often. I was at Target. What was I buying? cardstock paper. But then I lost my headphones and I was like, "I just need a pair." I don't want to get them on Amazon, even though they were cheaper. I just need my freaking headphones. I went down the headphone aisle. Man, there's a massive market for headphones right now. Just they had a whole store in a store of headphones. I'm like, "This is just overwhelming at this point."
Harrison: Yeah, it is. With the headphones and the glasses and the mask, it's like a lot of stuff on your face. It's like and just like the convenience of not having to deal with the headphones as a product category at all, it's quite nice. I haven't bought a pair of headphones in a year. I don't have to bring headphones to the gym. I don't have to remember my head ... it's all in the glasses. It's just easier. For people like me that wear glasses all day, it's certainly more convenient than having to buy external headphones. Which always seem to get lost or broken within three months of getting them. You lose one earbud, or they don't hold the charge, or the end of the cable that goes into the phone, it bends or something, or one ear goes out. It's always something with headphones. From the cheap Skullcandy pairs to the more expensive ones, I feel like it's kind of the same way.
Unless you want to get into the $300 headphones and then the $500 Grado, then you're talking about really nice equipment. But most people are not buying that. They're buying junkie headphones. They have to rebuy every six months. For people that wear glasses, we can eliminate the need to have headphones at all. That is one really major benefit, I think, to the product. Then I think we covered a lot actually. The fact that it's more social listening, you can listen to your audio but still have a conversation with someone, it is really quite nice. Then the utility when you're on the job or when you're out doing outdoor activities to not have to pull out your phone to get directions, it's just very useful. It's a very useful product. I mean, if you go on our website, lucyd.co, and you look at the reviews, you can see all kinds of use cases and what people are using it for, why they like it and really get there's this genuine excitement from our customers. That they just really like how this product works for them.
You can't fake that. It has to really do something cool for people to get excited. Everyone's so jaded these days. To really get somebody excited about something, that has to be pretty amazing. I think this product, it can genuinely improve people's lives. I really do believe that. Not just from the safety perspective, but helping them stay more connected to the world and the people around them.
Perry: Right. I think from a user experience, getting my own pair, I will say the presentation in optical products is generally pretty poor. We have a case, a cleaning cloth and we give it to the patient. I'm not a fan of giving bags to patients because they just end up in the trash anyways. Even a reusable bag. I know a lot of obstacles, "Hey, here's our reusable bag and it has our logo on it." I'm like, "Well, that's going to go in the kitchen with all other 40 other reusable bags I have." But you guys keep it pretty minimal, but beautiful. A nice foam custom insert so the eyewear is nice and secure. They're not going to get crushed during shipping. It's really just what I need. [crosstalk 00:51:39]-
Harrison: Yeah. The box, it's a bit of a work of art. I mean, we actually have a pretty famous industrial designer create the box. A guy named Sylvia Rousseau who actually, he did the statue that's in front of the UN.
Harrison: Yeah. He's an old friend of my dad's and we got him in to do this project. But we wanted to create a box that was super durable for shipping and was also reusable. They're very handy. It has a magnetic closure on the outer box, so you can store things in it. I keep my excess trading cards in them and it's just a nice thing to have around. It looks very attractive. You have tons of accessories in there. You have a wall adapter and the cable, you have actually two kinds of cases that we provide. We provide a slip case and a full, flat hard case. Then there's the quick start card, which kind of tells you how to use the product. There's a link to the tutorial video on there. But what we were really trying to create was an Apple ish experience, I guess, with the packaging. We wanted to just really create a high level product overall that just really looks super professional, but it's also something fun and new. So some kind of colorful box that you don't normally see in electronics. Usually they're just in kind of blank, black boxes.
Perry: I know. I'm going to feel so bad throwing the box away. I don't know. Maybe I'll keep the box because I just tend to lose things if they're-
Harrison: Well, I have one that has all my pens in it. Then I have one ... Just like, it's a nice, sturdy little box that you can keep different things. My friend put his magic cards in and I was like, "That's a good idea." We have them around. Some people keep business cards in them, or it's too nice to just be garbage. That's the thing that I do like about it, is that you don't just throw that box away. People keep it. If they have to return the glasses to get their prescription updated, they can return it in that box with no other packaging. All they have to do is tape it shut. It's sturdy enough to ship on its own. That's something else that we've paid a lot of attention to detail to. Just to create a really positive experience, but also it's a fun on boxing experience as well.
Perry: Yeah. I can already see all these YouTubers are going to go ham on it. In retail, sometimes we disappoint people or expectations aren't met for many reasons. Some in our control, some out of our control. How are you protecting retailers from ... What happens when a product is returned? We don't want to eat it necessarily because ... How are you backing us up?
Harrison: Yeah. We handle all of that. We give lifetime tech support to the final customer regardless of who sells them the glasses. If they ever have any issues, they come to us through our email email@example.com and we handle it. The opticians don't have to get into the weeds with the customer about why their Bluetooth arm isn't turning on or something like that. We take care of all that because we're a lot more experienced with it. Then the other thing is, we do offer a 90 day warranty at the final retail sale. If the customer has any issues with the glasses from a manufacturing standpoint, or even if they damage them, we replaced them for up to 90 days. Then we offer a two year insurance add-on for $80, which the optician can charge to the final customer. That completely protects the glasses and lenses for two years.
Perry: Okay. I like that. That's good because there's a lot of ... It's a risky product, not because it's poorly done, it's fabulous how you guys built it. It's just a new segment and I don't think the consumer knows what to expect.
Harrison: Right. No, exactly. I think that the verbiage you use to share it with the customer is very important. I think really showcasing it as, Hey, this is headphones and glasses in one. Really kind of break it down for them and explain to them how this is great for outdoor activities, it's safer on the bicycle or when you're running, it's a lot more useful because you can do all these things, touch free with Siri without pulling out your phone. You really have to break it down to the customer. But yeah, we're all about derisking it for the optical stores. We totally hold their hand through the process. We make sure that they're comfortable with the product first. If their customers have any issues, they get taken care of immediately. I actually have a bit of a background in customer service also. I made that very central to the culture at Lucyd. We're a very customer centric brand, not only because we're funded by our customers, but because it's the right thing to do. We never want to leave an optician hanging with an issue or anything like that.
Harrison: We take care of everything as quickly as possible. We're there to support the opticians if the customers have any questions or issues with the product. We back it up. We stand by it.
Perry: Yeah. I love customer service centric companies. A lot of these large corporations, billion dollar ones, the only way you can get any damn support is through chat. Which is fine. Just do a really good chat. I had some pet food from chewy.com. It got stolen from my patio. I chatted them. Within two minutes, they had a new box out to me. No questions asked. I was like, "This is freaking awesome. This is what I want. I will buy it from you."
Harrison: Yeah. No, absolutely.
Perry: Go look at my account. Don't hassle me. I spend money.
Perry: Have you had any experience with people with questions of technology too close to their brain or any of that, tinfoil hats talk?
Harrison: Yeah. No, that does come up every now and then. There's basically two things I say. One is that, they operate on Bluetooth 5.0, which is the same protocol that all wireless headphones operate on. It's essentially the moral equivalent of wearing AirPods or wireless headphones. Which has been proven to be safe. Bluetooth devices are safe. The second thing I say is that, there's a lot less radio waves and informational waves bouncing off of your phone than there are off of the Bluetooth headset. Compared to holding your ... I believe it's safer. There's not enough science out there really to say for sure, in my opinion, but I believe it is safer to take a call on a hands-free device than it is to take it on the phone itself. Because you have all of these 4G waves and there's a lot more informational radiation coming off of a phone than there is off of a wireless headphone. I think that that's the other sort of thing that I present. That's like, it's better than holding up the phone to your ear. Which people are going to do if they don't have a wearable.
Perry: Okay. Now inside the eyewear, are they lithium-ion batteries or how are they powered?
Harrison: Yeah. There's a lithium-ion battery in the tip of each arm. Then they're charged through a special USB cable that clips onto the inside of the arms with a magnet.
Perry: Okay. Yeah. It was an interesting kind of charging cord [crosstalk 00:58:31]-
Perry: It's magnetic, it looks like.
Harrison: Yeah. The clips just pop right onto the arms. You clip it onto both arms at once. Then that charges them both. A red led will turn on when it's charging in the outside of the arm. Then it shuts off when it's done charging.
Perry: Okay. Yeah. I love a magnetic charger. That's probably the only I miss about my MacBook computer. Because sometimes you just accidentally rip a charging cord out and you're like, "Man, that's not good."
Harrison: Yeah. You need it from the water resistance too, which are our glasses are IP56 water resistant. They're sweat proof and rainproof. To do that, you need kind of a flat charger without any apertures. Our first model had a micro USB socket and people would get dust in it, they would get ... It was all kinds of issues would occur. The contact charger is really helpful as well, super easy to use. Some people do ask like, "Hey, why isn't this just USBC?" I don't really get into it with them, but I'm like, "Yeah, it's just better for the form factor and the feng shui of the eyewear for it to be this way."
Perry: Yeah. Right. To all the listeners that are listening, I highly suggest you go to the show notes here. I'll put a link there where you can request more information. If you want to open a wholesale account, Harrison and his team will get in touch with you and walk you through how to buy them. There's probably more information we're not getting to you. But Harrison, any other things you want to share with the audience as we wrap up here?
Harrison: Yeah. I just think it's 2021. It's time to upgrade your eyewear. Go ahead and get a pair of Lucyd Lytes and see what we're talking about. I think you're going to love it. If you don't and we stand by everything. We have money back guarantee on all wholesale orders for 30 days. You can try it out yourself. You can try it out with your customers and see what they think. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. People love the product. It's a great second pair to sell. Basically, any millennial and older guy will probably buy it. We sell a bit more to men than women, I will say that. But anybody that likes tech even a little will be blown away by this product. I think it'll be a great addition to your store.
Perry: Yeah. I think I would put every staff member in this pair of glasses, just make it part of the outfit and make sure they love the glasses. Show the patient, play some audio, get your Spotify app out, or heck even tell Siri or whatever to play Spotify on your phone. Your patient's going to think, "WTF. This is cool. I've heard about it, but I've never seen it. I never knew where to find it in." You're right, most people are not going to go out of their way to research these things until they see it on QVC or TODAY Show, and then they'll buy it. That's not where your market is.
Harrison: Yeah. I mean, look, one other thing I'll say is that, we're a bit technologists here, but I really do believe that in the future, all eyewear will be smart eyewear. I think this is a great time to introduce yourself and your business to the product category. Don't lose your customers to direct to consumer smart eyewear products. You should have this in your store and you should make that sale. It's very simple. You just look at the watches. You don't see the regular watches anymore too much. Do you? I mean, some guys wear them. But if you see someone wearing a watch, chances are it's a smartwatch. I think eyewear is not too far behind that same trajectory. It's a great time to just get involved in the product category. I think you'll find that it's a major benefit when you have them on compared to wearing regular glasses. In fact, a lot of our customers don't want to go back to regular glasses after they get used to the Lytes.
Perry: Yeah. Awesome. Thanks so much, Harrison. Then again, please go to the show notes. There, I'm going to put some links, check the information out about the product and request more information. The team at Lucyd will get back to you properly. This is rock and roll, ready for the wholesale eyecare market.
Harrison: Sure. All right. Looking forward to upgrading the world's eyewear, and, guys, just get in touch if you have any questions.
Perry: Yeah. Harrison even will autograph yours maybe.
Harrison: Yeah. Perfect.
Perry: All right. Thanks so much.
Harrison: All right. Cheers.
Perry: This brings us to the end of another episode of Eyetrepreneur: The Podcast for Wizards of Eyes. Go ahead and click over to our website, eyetrepreneur.com or head over to Facebook to join our special Facebook group, Eyetrepreneur. See you there.