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INTERVIEW: Heidi Hertel, Mom & Entrepreneur, Talks Fitz Frames Business And The Future Of Eyewear

Sydney A. Braat

Heidi Hertel, Fitz Frames Founder, with her children. (Photo Credit: Sharon Suh)

Digital solutions to our everyday needs are all the rage and that includes eyeglasses. Heidi Hertel, mom and entrepreneur, knew the pain of having to get her kids fitted for eyewear. Anyone who has needed lenses, adults and children alike, know the tedious process of going to a store, waiting, waiting some more, and finally getting a pair that you might like. Well, it's 2020 and that means time for innovations that far surpass the standard optics store experience. Now, you don't need to leave the comfort of your home to get your children a pair of glasses.

Fitz Frames makes custom, 3D printed eyewear including prescription, blue light filtering, and sunglasses. Using the Fitz Frames app, parents can snap a quick photo of their child, get measured, and try on a variety of style. Before you know it, your 3D printed custom glasses will be delivered to your home.

I spoke with Hertel to learn more about her business and why Fitz Frames is the future of eyewear.

Eyewear always seemed like an industry so stuck on the past. You had to go into the store to get sized for frames and wait a while until you got your updated pair. Not anymore! Fitz Frames takes an entirely modern approach to eyewear. Can you speak to the technology and why updating the traditional methods was important to you as you started the business

HH: Shopping for glasses can be a time-consuming and disappointing experience. Glasses are not a one-size fits all product, yet that's how they've been made for the last hundred years. I wanted to create a better-fitting and more comfortable product and to make getting glasses a fun, easy and convenient process. For those who need them, glasses are not a luxury, they are a life necessity. The previous customer experience offered by most optical companies did not reflect that - I wanted to prioritize the customer's preferences and lifestyle needs to make our glasses make sense for them. Our [Fitz Frames] app and 3D printing technology give customers the benefit of shopping from home with the assurance that our glasses will fit them out of the box, as we build each frame for each unique face.

A pair of Fitz Frames. (Courtesy Photo)


As a mom and entrepreneur, how do those two worlds collide specifically when it comes to Fitz Frames?

HH: As a parent of kids who have worn glasses for several years, I wanted to take the pain points out of the purchase process. My kids have worn glasses since they were toddlers and I can't tell you the amount of time and money we've spent traveling back and forth to stores and eye doctors' offices. Glasses are often made in limited varieties, making it very tough to find a pair that fit properly and were the style and color that we loved. I kept thinking, this system doesn't make any sense - why can't I find this frame style in the next size up or in a different color? And if the kids broke or outgrew their glasses, I could never find them again - they were often discontinued by the manufacturer who had moved on to a new line. With Fitz, you have the peace of mind that your custom fit glasses are just a click away and you can use the app at any time to replace frames or update your look with new ones!

The world is continuing to head in a more digital direction. How will that positively impact the way your business operates? Are there any exciting changes that may come with this global shift?

HH: We are seeing customers become more comfortable buying eye wear for themselves and their children online and have such amazing ways to tailor our product to customers through our app. Our measuring and manufacturing tech allows us to have any style fit any face and to accommodate uneven ears, bridges that are hard to fit, etc, in ways that are truly revolutionary. While I started the company to create better glasses for kids, we are thrilled that adults have found us as well and are quickly moving into that market. Additive manufacturing gives us the flexibility to develop new styles geared to adults with aesthetic features that are unique to our materials and manufacturing capabilities.

Back to school is around the corner (digital schooling and in-person), why is Fitz the perfect "need" for kids or even adults these days?

HH: It is estimated that 80% of learning for kids is visual. Glasses that are ill-fitting or disliked by the wearer can be distracting and inhibit learning. And if kids don't wear glasses or don't feel good in them (both in the classroom and on Zoom calls), school performance and self-esteem can suffer. We are really proud to create glasses that you look and feel great in. Our customers aren't limited to those who need a prescription glasses with blue light filtering lenses for screen use are on everyone's back to school/zoom list this year as they prevent eye strain and headaches for all of us spending extra time on devices.

What is your connection to the Hamptons community?

HH: The Hamptons have been a special place for our family. My husband and I have been coming here for the last 15 years. We were engaged here and have brought our kids every summer. Fitz had its first retail pop-up in Sag Harbor shortly after we launched last summer!

For more information on Fitz Frames, visit www.fitzframes.com.


Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat




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