Piriya Tantrativud is the co-founder and CMO of Glazziq – an online shop that sells high-quality eyeglasses with advanced lenses, stylish glasses that people can comfortably wear all day, as well as prescription and after-sale support through their partner retail stores.
Human Asia eagerly spoke to Piriya recently.
What inspired you to start Glazziq?
Piriya: We founded Glazziq to provide eyewear customers exceptional value. We’ve always found shopping for prescription eyeglasses to be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. It’s hard to imagine how a pair of eyeglasses will look on you when you’re browsing through a sea of frames in a drawer or shelf, and frames have many important-but-small attributes that discerning buyers must look for.
Our solution disrupts the traditional retail model by providing customers a photo-rich e-commerce shopping experience supported by free eye exams and after-sales service, through our optical retail partners. Our platform makes it easy for you to filter and choose frames as well as try them on at home. We build and ship our glasses directly from the factory to our customers, enabling us to give you superior quality at a revolutionary price.
Tell us about the early months in which Glazziq developed from an idea into a business.
Piriya: In the beginning, our biggest obstacle was getting people to understand how they can purchase eyeglasses online. Thai people are very accustomed to buying eyeglasses offline as they expect to receive prescription and after sale services.
Even though we have offline partners to offer these services, customers still don’t quite understand how this online-offline partnership works. In order to overcome this problem, we had to ensure that the the information on our offline services is readily available on our website, and we open up social channels for our customers to ask questions, which we make sure to attend to promptly, to explain to them how our business model works. Once the customers understand the flow, they often go off to make purchases themselves and come back as repeat customers.
What is the design process like? Have you had a hand in crafting any frames yourself?
Piriya: Our creative team comes from a broad variety of backgrounds. We’re inspired by art, fashion, and everyday life throughout our frame design process — from sketches, material and color selection, prototyping, to the final product.
We design our own frames with focus on both style and functionality, and produce them with with factories who manufactures for high-end fashion brands to ensure quality in our final product.
We focus on eyewear designs that are both functional and fashionable. We try to avoid out-of-this-world looks as we want our brand to be approachable by all. So we put some modern design touches to the classic looks, and add the little details to make our glasses more special.
In terms of functionality, we focus on creating frames that would apply to modern day lifestyles, such as magnet clip-ons that are easy to carry, or very flexible frames made of special materials that are durable and lightweight.
One of your services is Home Try-On. Explain what it is and why work with 7-Eleven, instead of eyewear stores?
Piriya: We send the Home Try-On samples to the customers directly to their home. However, when it comes to the return process, we need a return logistics to ensure the best experience.
In Thailand, the post office is not as widespread as the developed countries, and it can take a very long time standing in line at the post office to get the services.
So we decided to approach and work with 7-Eleven as a drop-off point for our Home Try-On samples. 7-Eleven is by far the most convenient channel for our customers as it has over 10,000 locations in Thailand and is opened 24 hours a day. Our customers have provided very positive feedback on this return method.
You also partner with coffee shops to sell glasses. Tell us about this concept.
Piriya: We collaborate with coffee shops to display our sample glasses on their wall as a passive showroom. We believe that this model is not only cost effective, but also provides a better browsing experience.
Customers can browse our glasses in these coffee shops, and once they find a pair they like, they can shop online. Unlike traditional eyeglasses stores, customers are not pressured by the salesperson to make the purchase. They can spend as much time as they like trying the classes, bring their friends to help choose, and sip coffee as they try to find their favorite pair.
We also save on rent and staff, allowing us to provide revolutionary prices to our customers.
What has the reception been like for Glazziq, and what are your expansion plans going forward?
Piriya: Customers have provided us with a very positive feedback. They enjoy browsing for eyeglasses online through our social media and our photo-rich website, and try the different filtering functions hat helps them narrow down the frames that will suit them.
Many have told us that they like the content that we produce on our social media and our blog, and our social media followers have grown to more than 80,000.
Additionally, 10% of our customers come back to buy the second pair wishing a year. This rate of repeat purchase is two times the industry average, showing us how customers are very happy with their purchase experience.
Going forward, we hope to expand our business to other countries in Southeast Asia. As we already have the offline stores that would like to partner with us in Singapore and Malaysia, those are the countries we hope to expand to first.
Piriya, please tell us a little about yourself and how you met your co-founders.
Piriya: We met in the MBA program, while I went to do my exchange program at Kellogg Business School, which Prinda, our CEO, was also attending at the time.
After MBA, we went to work with different industries for a few years, but both of us have always had the passion to do our own business, and finally started something together with the other two co-founders, Dan and Keeratipong, when we saw that there was an opportunity for an online eyewear startup.
What makes you so passionate about eyewear?
Piriya: Prinda’s family business is in eyewear and she grew up in this industry. With her entrepreneurial spirit, she has always seen rooms for improvements for the eyewear business model. I have worn glasses all my life and like to wear them. However, I have always had the pain point of bad eyewear shopping experience or overpaying for branded glasses. We think that eyewear shopping experience should be fun than what it used to be.
What is your business philosophy?
Piriya: We believe in a strong customer service philosophy. We ensure that customers are happy with the experience, and really attend to their questions or concerns throughout throughout the whole purchase process.
Once they receive the pair of glasses with the lens, we will make sure that they are happy with the product they receive. If there is any problem that the customers find, such as finding the glasses not being comfortable, we will make sure to that we solve them.
We also listen to customers feedback and adapt quickly to the market demands. For instance, some customers start asking us to make color lens glasses for them, and we eventually turned this feedback into our new feature where customers can come to mix and match our frames with the color lens of their choice.
Do you ever meet people and see them wearing your glasses?
Piriya: Yes. When we find customers wearing our glasses, we get very excited. When we see them posting on social media and proudly tagging us, it really makes us happy that they are willing to be our spokesperson and that they like our brand enough to want to be associated with us.
Any words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Piriya: Running your own business is tough and not as fancy as it may sound. In Thai media, startups usually portray their positive sides, without mentioning the hardship that one has to go through.
We believe that entrepreneurs must be very passionate with their startups, because they will have to be spending day and night getting their business up and running. There will be a lot of ups and downs, so it is also important that one must find the right founding team to help each other through the hard times and provide the necessary skills to really scale the business.
You can visit Glazziq at https://www.glazziq.com/en
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