Pair Eyewear is an entrepreneurial venture by Nathan Kondamuri and Sophia Edelstein. The duo met at Stanford University as undergraduates and decided to start their company based on Kondamuri’s struggle with finding glasses he liked.
Pair is focused on providing a twist on conventional eyeglasses, especially to attract children who usually dislike their eyewear growing up and even straight up refuse to wear it at times. To make wearing eyeglasses a fun and attractive experience, Pair has introduced patented magnetic frames that can be swapped easily. This feature is excellent for parents who struggle with getting their children to wear their glasses. It also allows children to showcase their personalities, and they can come up with fun, elaborate outfit ideas to match their frames.
Despite attempting to break into an industry that is entirely dominated by a few behemoths, Pair has done well for itself. In 2021, it raised $12 million to consolidate the company further. The business also landed licensing deals with major brands such as Marvel, Sesame Street, and Coca-Cola. Pair is continuing to grow, and its young CEOs are in touch with the social media marketing demands of the current market. Pair does most of its advertising through Tik Tok, which has seen them reach the demographic they want to target.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Kondamuri and Edelstein walked confidently onto their Shark Tank pitch wearing their products. They were accompanied by children who were also modeling the glasses. The Sharks looked excited to hear the pitch, as they could tell the duo was intelligent and confident in their dealings. They asked for $400,000 for 10% of their company.
The co-CEOs introduced their company and conveyed their passion for it. They centered their pitch on the problems faced by parents in getting their children to wear glasses and the lack of fun and exciting frames on the market. After establishing the problem, they demonstrated the business their solution provided to it. They introduced their patented magnetic frames, allowing the wearer to swap their frame according to their liking or the occasion. An audible appreciation met this demonstration by the Sharks as they declared it was ‘very cool.’
They demonstrated how children could have fun with their glasses by showing the frame swap on the children they brought along. Mark Cuban reminisced about his childhood experience of wearing glasses. There seemed to be a consensus among the Sharks about the company providing innovation to solve a widespread problem that people face. Edelstein also emphasized that they offered their products at a fraction of the cost of big retail eyewear brands. This made the Sharks even more interested.
After applauding the great job done by the duo on the pitch, The Sharks quickly turned the conversation to the critical matter of numbers. Though he liked the product, Kevin O’Leary was concerned about the competition in the eyeglass market. He claimed that 8a single company monopolized 80% of the eyewear market, and these industry behemoths would easily steal their idea and crush their business. Kondamuri interjected that the behemoths do not innovate. Thus, there was a definite place for Pair in the market. O’Leary still seemed skeptical that the business would not be ‘crushed like a cockroach.
Robert Herjavec asked the entrepreneurs about the cost of making a frame. Edelstein revealed that the business had solid profit margins, which impressed the Sharks. Cuban wanted to know if the industry had any sales. Kondamuri replied that their company had done $100,000 in sales in the last eight months. This information did not seem to go down well with the Sharks, as it was obvious that they thought the business sales were underwhelming.
Cuban further inquired about the money raised by the business, and Kondamuri told him that the company had raised $1.1 million. However, they had $150,000 in the bank, which left them a little cash-strapped. They wanted the expertise of a Shark to acquire more customers and market their product more effectively.
Herjavec declined to make an offer as he believed the product was more of a feature than a stand-alone company. O’Leary liked the concept and the entrepreneurs, but he was underwhelmed by the sales numbers and believed their idea would be stolen by a more significant player in the market. He also pulled out of negotiations.
Cuban was the next Shark to leave as he was weary of the funding issue. He did not want to fight off other venture capitalists for the business.
This left the duo with Lori Greiner and guest Shark Katrina Lake, who both showed appreciation for the business throughout the pitch. The two ladies made a combined offer of $400,000 for the equity provided. However, they demanded a $2 royalty on the sale of every frame until their initial investment was paid back.
The duo contemplated the offer, and after some fine-tuning of details, they accepted a $1.5 royalty to go with their original request.
Our Review of Pair Eyewear
Pair Eyewear is a fun and innovative brand in a sector that truly needed a shake-up. The add-on frames are the defining feature of their product and the main attraction. However, the company can add a few more features to enhance its eyewear.
Pros of Pair Eyewear
- Frames costs are considerably lower than other brands.
- Magnetic frames that can be swapped make the eyewear experience a lot less boring
- Collaborations with brands such as Marvel adds another attractive feature for children
- Lenses are glare-free and scratch resistant.
- Frames are lightweight and durable
Cons of Pair Eyewear
- Do not offer bifocal lenses
- Do not provide vision insurance
- Additional charges for specialized lenses
Who Is It For?
Pair Eyewear was originally a brand targeted toward children. Their catchphrase ‘swap the top’ encouraged children to have fun with their range of magnetic frames that can be swapped. However, as the company has grown, Pair now also offers adults’ products, which significantly widens its target demographic.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Many retail eyewear brands now provide magnetic clip-on sunglasses, which help the wearer to transform their glasses into sunglasses instantly. However, The add-on frames are not available in major brands. Therefore, there is no complete like-to-like alternative for Pair Eyewear.
Pair Eyewear is a breath of fresh air in a market dominated by designer brands that stick to their classic designs. These brands also do not target children. Therefore, their frames can be boring to children who already avoid wearing glasses due to the stigma. Pair provides a fun twist on prescription eyewear, and its success suggests that it tapped into a market waiting for innovation.