00:09 Neil Blumenthal: And I think when you have a goal that's trying to disrupt the optical industry and the status quo, there are certainly elements of it that are rooting for us, because they're excited that somebody's shaking things up and introducing change into an area that hasn't seen much change, either on the product front or the distribution front in decades. But there are definitely those people that stand to lose when we're bringing down prices from $500 to $95.
00:37 Blumenthal: Well, why are glasses so expensive? I mean, I personally have been to the factories and know that they didn't cost that much to manufacture, but what were keeping prices so high here in the US? And we sort of looked at, what's the path that someone usually takes to buy a pair of glasses? Well, first they'll go and try to identify what brand of glasses do I want? Whether it's Oakley or Ray Ban, probably some of the most popular at all of our peoples. Or they might select, "Hey, I want a fashion brand of eyewear, even though I know that those glasses aren't actually designed or manufactured by those fashion brands, they're actually licensed by a third party. And then I might go to an optical shop. If it's one of the big chains, it's LensCrafters or Pearl Vision. Sunglass Hut, perhaps, and I'll probably pay with it with vision insurance, and maybe one, such as EyeMed, which is the second largest vision insurance plan in the country."
01:33 Blumenthal: Well, we took a look and all of these companies and brands are all owned by Luxottica, a company that does about $7 billion a year in revenue that nobody's ever heard of. What we found was that this industry is dominated by a few large companies that are keeping prices artificially high. And this is where we thought we can come in and disrupt and charge, a fourth of what they're charging and hopefully, begin to take market share and in the process, transfer billions of dollars from these large multinational corporations to normal people like you and me.
02:09 Blumenthal: We started thinking, "Okay, here we are, we're gonna build this website. What price should we charge?" We knew that we could, from a manufacturing standpoint, get it down to $95. That was a really important price point for us because we thought, over $100, it's a different purchase calculus. We knew that it was gonna be important to bundle whatever great price we could come up with, with really good customer service, whether it was free shipping and free returns. But then one nagging question kept popping up and that was, "Well, you need to try on glasses right before you buy them. Don't you?" I mean, yes, people have bought shoes online but in general, you might know your shoe size or within half a size. But glasses are a little different, right? People's facial features are very different. Different colors work differently with skin tones.
03:02 Blumenthal: So we thought, was there some sort of technology that we could use? And we sourced through the best facial recognition software out there and created this virtual try on where you could upload a photo of yourself and virtually try on our glasses and we thought, "Wow, this potentially solves the problem." But then we started testing it ourselves and we asked ourselves, "Would we really buy just based on sort of this image?" And we thought, "Maybe not." So the question then was, "Well, what can we do? Can people physically touch these glasses?" 'Cause there's going to be this inherent skepticism that you're selling me a $500 product at $95.
03:40 Blumenthal: So, we came up with this idea to do a home try-on program. The first of its kind in the US, where you select five frames, we ship it to you, free of cost, and you have five days to try it on at home. And we thought, "Wow, this was it. This was lynchpin that we needed to give us confidence to continue to invest more time and money into this idea."