Australian optics retailer Dresden has opened its first Kiwi store on Auckland’s Ponsonby Rd, offering standard prescription glasses for $63. It manufactures the modular frames itself in Sydney, and has designed its system so customers can swap out their lenses into new frames themselves.
“We’ve designed our sustainable glasses system from scratch,” says Dresden co-founder Bruce Jeffreys.
“People can see an optometrist, choose frames and colours, then have the glasses made on the spot. A customer can get their single-vision lenses made in-store within 15 minutes, and walk out of the store with new glasses.”
The frames come with a lifetime guarantee, and come in a wide range of colours. Customers can choose colours for frames, arms and the pins that hold them together. All lenses are Zeiss.
“We manufacture the frames ourselves, in Australia, from fully recyclable plastic and recycled plastic – including fishing nets and plastic washed up on Australian beaches,” says Jeffreys.
Jeffreys, who founded car-sharing start-up GoGet in 2003, founded the brand in 2014 with Jason McDermott, the designer who was behind health tech company Sensorium Health. Dresden raised AU$4 million around the middle of this year and recently expanded out of Australia into Canada, with two stores in Toronto.
Its New Zealand general manager Matt Martel is confident it will offer Kiwi consumers a cheaper alternative to existing offerings, echoing comments made by Chemist Warehouse representativesat the time of the cut-price pharmacy chain’s arrival.
“Looking around at the prices charged in New Zealand, I think we’ll have a genuine impact on people’s lives,” Martel says. “Being able to see properly should be a fundamental right. If you can’t see properly, you can’t read, write, get a good job or even perform well in education.
“Being able to sell glasses for $63 will really help people. And we think all of our prices – even for the really complicated glasses – are substantially below what anyone else in the market is doing. We’re proud of that.”
Dresden’s first New Zealand store is at 132 Ponsonby Rd, on the corner of Richmond Rd. It will be followed by a local website at the end of the month.