Fancy framework: Sunnies Studios sets its sights on affordable prescription eyewear

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Sunnies Studios is launching Specs, its new line of prescription eyeglasses. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — It’s a busy day at the HQ of Sunnies Studios, where the final touches to its new line are being made at the office’s R&D room. The whole affair has been decidedly hush-hush, with no prior announcement save for a teaser photo promising “something big” on the brand’s social media pages and a newsletter update the night before the line’s launch.

Sunnies is best known for being everyone’s go-to source for affordable and fashionable sunglasses, so it’s evident that any announcement from the company is expected to be big. And it sure is.

Today, April 20, it’s launching Sunnies Specs, a premium prescription eyewear line that’s set to make the hunt for the perfect pair of glasses much easier.

Aside from offering more frame designs that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, Sunnies Specs will be providing simplified in-store eye checkups. Overall, the process is set to take 15 to 30 minutes, not including the two hours it’ll take to get the lenses done.

For Specs, Sunnies will set up optical kiosks to allow for customers' eye checkups right within its stores. Photo by JL JAVIER

CNN Philippines Life got to sit down with Eric Dee Jr., Sunnies Studios’s finance director, to talk about their new optical eyewear line. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

How will Sunnies Specs stores work?

We wanted to simplify everything. So with Sunnies, we initially launched a specs line. This specs line was targeted to be a fashion eyewear line. Fashion eyewear is, you know, trendy to wear without the grade. When we launched it, we saw that a lot of our consumers wanted more specs. The problem with that was it was meant for fashion. It wasn’t meant for the 24/7 daily wear. What we tried to do with Specs is try to come up with a more premium eyewear that’s really meant for day-to-day use, 24/7.

What will the specs be made of?

The material’s different. This is made of premium acetate. We also came up with a light and flexible material called TR 90, as well as a stainless steel line. So three totally different materials that weren’t really used for Sunnies before.

Eric Dee Jr., Sunnies's finance director. Photo by JL JAVIER

How is the process going to work when you go into the store?

Other shops would be old-school. You know, it was the traditional way of picking your frames and having your eye tests. What we wanted to do was to simplify it, to make it easier for our consumers to understand. So first off, you always start with picking a frame. After picking a frame, you do our eye test. Our eye test is very compact. We found advanced technology where instead of having a big room for an eye test, this one minimizes the space. We have a screen that’s only a meter distance. That’s the reason we’re doing it in a kiosk. I think it’s going to be the first — I’d say globally — to do an optical shop with a kiosk business model.

And you do the eye test and from that, again, we wanted to make it easy, so we follow one price point. All our frames are the same price. Our initial package is P1,999 for single-vision lens. One price point so it’s an easy purchase, unlike other optical shops where you come in with a budget in mind and then you leave spending twice as much because the prices of the frames are all different and the prices of the lens are all different. So with us, any frame you pick is the same price. You can get a lens also at the same price. You also have the option to upgrade from the P1,999. If you want a thinner lens, you can also opt to upgrade. So we give you a menu that you can choose from.