Like most entrepreneurs, Konrad Billetz remembers a moment when his career was pushed into motion. But, it wasn’t at business school or after he secured his first investor. When Konrad was 11, a friend accidentally shot him in the eye with a BB gun and he was told he would be blind. This was (luckily) a medical miscalculation. Konrad kept his vision but was required to wear a permanent accessory: “Since the accident, I’ve been forced to wear glasses and they’ve always been a huge frustration for me,” he explains. Today, he’s a well-dressed 20 something with a penchant for fashion (and, let’s be honest, could maybe have his own style blog), and it occurred to him early on that glasses were a big part of that. “Whenever I wanted to change my look, I had to buy a whole new set of specs — this just doesn’t make sense, but that’s what eyewear companies want you to do.”
To almost instant popularity, Frameri was born – the first eyewear company to offer interchangeable frames and lenses. (Yep, you can switch up your eyewear game without spending a fortune.) Konrad says, “I wanted to change eyewear, make it more flexible, make it more fun, and give glasses wearers the freedom to express themselves however they want.”
Frameri has officially revolutionized the eyewear industry out of their headquarters in Ohio. This season, they opened up their first brick & mortar – a holiday pop up located at 1419 Vine St. in OTR, Cincinnati. The bright space will be open through mid-January, and we couldn’t wait to stop in. (And for our readers who can’t make it, start the slideshow to shop a few of our favorite frames!)
Hi Konrad! First, we’d love to know more about how Frameri works.
We’re the interchangeable frame and lenses company that let’s you buy and wear your glasses and sunglasses in a whole new way. Instead of buying a single expensive pair that has to work with your whole wardrobe, we give you the freedom to buy frames and lenses separately and snap them in and out whenever you choose. This means you can create a wardrobe of looks just like you would your clothes or any other fashion accessory.
All our frames are designed by us in Cincinnati and handmade in a small, family-owned factory in Italy using the highest quality materials on the planet. We run and process our lenses in our own optical lab right below our office to ensure you get the perfect pair.
You live and work in Cincinnati. What do you love most about the city?
Cincinnati has so much to offer, but I would say my favorite part is our neighborhood – Over-the-Rhine (OTR). It’s the largest preserved historic neighborhood in the country (over 900 preserved buildings) and has a character that not only inspires, but also serves as a role model for urban development. It’s quirky, fun, and has a personality all its own.
Sounds like a perfect fit for your brand. The pop-up is so welcoming! What inspired the interior design?
The space was designed to create a warm, inviting atmosphere to counter the typical clinical eyewear experience. We wanted it to be fun and comfortable — a place where people can feel inspired to try something new and ward off the chill of winter.
We’re particularly proud of our up-cycled white mantle piece and our newest member of the team “Penguino,” our frame-sporting penguin. We also really love our polaroid wall that allows customers to be a part of our story in an inviting and interactive way alongside our neon “Good Vibes Only” sign.
We also had custom shelving made that allows our glasses to be displayed in a much more welcoming way that still puts the frames first.
What can shoppers expect when visiting the pop up?
We wanted to put a face to our online experience that allows us to transcend our brand beyond digital. Also, free hot cocoa.
Many of our readers aren’t in Ohio… but you guys have a killer online presence. What do you think makes you stand out on the web?
We started online, so our website has always been our “first store.” We are constantly working on and improving the customer experience to make it as easy and informative as possible. This includes offering free shipping and returns as well as a virtual try-on tool that allows you to try-on all of our frames in the comfort of your home or office using your computer. Above all, our customer service team makes the entire process more personal — feel free to call in for suggestions and if you don’t have your prescription handy, we’ll always call your doctor for you to get it.
Finally, do you have a favorite pair of frames?
Without a doubt, my favorite frame is Tidal Magellan in Clear. I think everyone should have a clear frame, they are so beautiful and look great on just about everyone.
Noted! Start the slideshow for a closer look at the shop… and to choose out your next pair of glasses!