Do many of your customers complain that their sunglasses rest on their cheeks or slide down the face? Increasingly frame manufacturers are adapting traditional designs to suit the face shape of Asian people.
I had lunch with an old friend and colleague the other day. We both grew up in New Zealand but while I’m of English descent, her parents were Asian.
Janice, who is approaching 60, told me that whenever she buys glasses she has them sent to Brisbane (from Sydney) to have the acetate nose pads ground down so they’ll stay on her face.
That made me think about the customer experience for people with an Asian shaped face. We all know the excitement of choosing a frame – you would have seen many customers almost salivating at the thought of taking receipt of their new look – and the disappointment that comes with realising it will take about a week to have the lenses fitted. So how do people feel when they’re told it’s going to be another few days or a week on top of that to have the glasses re-shaped to fit their face?
What these savvy frame manufacturers are doing is expanding their market – and helping you to expand yours too
For Janice, it must have been a painful waiting experience. You see she’s always been a fairly conservative dresser and the glasses she’d chosen were a little bit ‘out there’ in terms of style. They’d taken her out of her comfort zone and I’m pretty sure she would have been eager to get them back from her optometrist as quickly as possible so that she could get comfortable – and totally confident – in them before venturing out in public. (She needn’t have worried – they look sensational.)
For many Asians and other people with a small or non-prominent nose bridge, high cheekbones, and a wide face, often with a flatter profile, finding proper fitting spectacles and sunglasses can be challenging. The combination of these factors has a substantial impact on frame fit, the final position of wear, and when it comes to lenses, the pantoscopic tilt and bow angle. Yet the alternative is absolutely frustrating – ill-fitting frames that slip down the nose or sit on the cheeks and squeeze the temples or worse still, doing without.
The cheek structure of the Asian face has a flatter profile than that of a Caucasian face, while the bridge of the nose is less pronounced.
Consequently, frames with large temple-to-temple curves are more likely to cause discomfort for people with an Asian face shape while smaller lenses are less likely to hit the cheekbones.
Importantly, with comfort comes greater functionality and so eyewear that sits correctly on the face will provide greater visual acuity. Conversely, if a person’s eyewear doesn’t sit properly, it can impair vision, cause headaches or dizziness and even lead to accidents. Additionally, frames that don’t wrap correctly to the face will allow harmful UV rays to find their way into the eye.
Over recent years, several frame designers have recognised the need to re-work the shape and style of frames to suit the Asian face shape. It’s about time… Asia is home to 60 per cent of the global population with China and India accounting for more than half of Asia’s total population.1
While some manufacturers are producing alternate nose pads for their standard frames that enable them to be adapted to suit Asian face shapes, others are going all out, creating a second line of popular frame shapes with decreased frame curvature, narrowed bridge sizes, altered temple angles relative to the wearer’s ears and increase nosepad sizes.
What these savvy frame manufacturers are doing is expanding their market – and helping you to expand yours too. So, if you’re selling to customers with an Asian shaped face, it’s well worth the effort to stock these specially designed frames and to make sure your customers – of all ethnicities – are aware that you have them.
For my part, I was very quick to suggest to Janice that next time she heads out to buy spectacles or sunglasses, rather than sending the chosen frames off to be ground down, she simply chooses a frame designed for her face shape.