Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Customer Success Story: fredsparks ID firm creates greener eyewear brand & product line

By Sustainable Minds on October 3, 2011

Using Sustainable Minds, the team at fredsparks identified multiple viable frame materials with real impact reductions. Thus, Misura Eye Wear was born out of the Latin definition of misura – to measure.
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With regard to conservation, at fredsparks, we believe in doing the best that we can to be good stewards of the earth. The business driver for using SM, however, goes beyond ‘the right thing to do.’ As consumer desire to make more socially and environmentally-conscious purchasing decisions continues to grow, we see a future for design that requires knowledge of lifecycle design, and of sustainable design strategies… AND, because the awareness of green-washing is becoming more evident, we anticipate more consumer requirements to back up those design strategies and decisions with proof. Being able to provide our clients with measurably sustainable design direction allows us an opportunity to differentiate our service offerings. Being an early adopter of Sustainable Minds in the ID consulting arena – we have an opportunity to lead. Often, we find that our ability to offer our clients sustainable design solutions opens doors with them, even if the first project is not expressly a sustainable design initiative.

All the sustainable design projects that we’ve worked on have not only lowered the environmental impact over the products’ lifetime but have also decreased the cost to manufacture. Currently, we’re using Sustainable Minds to help capture consumers through efficacy, by bringing ‘real green’ solutions as opposed to ‘green-washing.’

The Misura Eye Wear Story – Sustainable Reading Eyewear
At fredsparks we use Sustainable Minds to evaluate concept decisions early in the process for our clients. That capability allowed us to capture an equity stake in a start up business developing sustainable reading eyewear.

Some associates with a distribution connection in the category brought us the idea for sustainable eyewear. Through research, we determined that entry into the market should be in the ‘reader’ category (non-prescription). The drivers were:

  1. ‘Baby boomers,’ (the largest US population segment) were also the most likely to buy green; and
  2. Due to the natural aging process, many required reading glasses.

Prescription readers have greater perceived value because of the wearer’s involvement: the process of getting a prescription, getting fitted, and making the purchase. Most consumers don’t change their prescription glasses with frequency. The heightened perceived value generally leads to better care and maintained accountability. On the other hand, non-prescription readers are inexpensive no-process-necessary to purchase products, and therefore appear to be more disposable. For these reasons, non-prescription readers were where we felt we could make the most impact.

We were very early adopters of Sustainable Minds and understand the power of the software, the process and ease of use. It was a no-brainer for us to use SM software and team early in this project for multiple reasons:

  1. First and foremost, we despise marketing green-washing (i.e. lying in general) and wanted to make a real measurable difference.
  2. We had been looking into some ‘new’ and what we believed might be lower impact materials. We knew that the SM LCA scientists could create custom impact factors for the custom materials.
  3. And finally, because we knew that with a relatively low investment of time and money we could begin making decisions based on science that would help us arrive at the best product decisions for our goal of ‘real-green greener eyewear.’

Sustainable Minds helped us identify multiple viable materials for the frames that create real environmental impact reductions. Thus, Misura Eye Wear was born out of the Latin definition of misura – to measure. Our current focus is on environmental impact reduction of packaging, POP and distribution… and yes Sustainable Minds is being utilized for all of these as well. For 100% transparency to build rapport and trust with customers, we will be publishing the measurement process, results and how we arrived at our claims on the brand’s website.

The plan: make something that is good, build trust, stay true to the brand promise, and then extend the brand equity to other products. Death to greenwashing! Look for Misura on shelves late 2012.