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Vanguard disruptor King Children launched with an app that harnesses 3D scanning, custom laser crafting technology, and augmented reality to create custom, made-to-order zero waste manufactured eyewear; but make no mistake, founders Sahir Zaveri and Dave Lee have their chicly framed, ambitious eyes set on changing the way you shop for, well, everything.
“The core values we — Dave and I — share are expressing through our brand diversity, inclusivity, creativity, and self-expression,” Zaveri explains.
In some ways, Zaveri and Lee, who both live in Williamsburg, tick the classic on-their-way-to-brilliance start-up boxes: they attended an Ivy League school (Brown); they have geek credentials that will blow yours out of the water (like spending the summer between their Junior and Senior years at college huddled up over spreadsheets together “exploring the possibilities and potential inherent to 3D technology”); they are obsessive promoters who truly believe they can “change the world”, and for Zaveri, fulfill a childhood dream stemming from a passion for 3D printing since grade school.
In other ways, Zaveri and Lee elide the classic mold. They wear their best friendship on their sleeves, and they are unabashedly idealistic in a manner more customary at Phish concerts than in Silicon Valley.
When it comes down to it, what consumers need to know is that King Children’s is — for now at least — just a really cool eyewear company.
“Eyewear on the market right now has been designed for some imaginary average person,” says Lee. “But most faces in the world don’t resemble that ‘average’ person. So we wanted to create totally customizable frames using augmented reality and 3D technology.”
3D printing, simply put, means the process of creating a physical object from a three-dimensional model created on a computer and printed on a special printer that lays down several thin layers of a material in succession. Check out this video.
After years of experimentation and analysis, Zaveri and Lee built their technology and software from scratch and believe they have created the perfect app (which you can download onto your smartphones -- iPhone X and up). It takes a millimeter-accurate 3D scan of your face and then shows you, in real time, what you would look like with a custom-designed optical or sunglasses. The frames, made of a far different compound than the usual toxic acetate, are flexible and lightweight with a range of color, style, and lens options (Rx, Sun, Blue Block).
The manufacturing of the glasses happens after the order is placed, which means every pair is a complete custom job -- zero waste manufacturing (plus they will be rolling out a recycling program for their customers soon). Each pair is produced via “laser crafting”. As industry insiders aware of how wasteful eyewear manufacturing has traditionally been, Zaveri and Lee are proud of this accomplishment for their brand mission -- and the world should be taking notice.
King Children also puts its money where its mouth is. In addition to designing frames that will suit any face in the vast rainbow of shape types out there, the company has teamed up with artists who represent its core values.
“She’s an amazing singer, but Bianca is also a cancer survivor and activist,” Lee says. “We feel so strongly about her cause, we’ve teamed up with her on a line of eyewear she designs. For every frame sold, 25% of the proceeds go to The Breasties, a charity she works with to support people who are going through the traumatic experience of reproductive cancer.”
“We are always thinking about how we can make more of an impact on the environment,” Zaveri notes. “That’s one of the main reasons we launched the company. There is so much waste in retail, even for some of the online retail companies who send out multiple pairs for you to choose from.”
Even retail companies without energy-wasting storefronts have huge warehouses of inventory ready to be sent out. Creating completely custom-made items at point of purchase saves energy and prevents waste, Zaveri and Lee argue.
Then there’s the gas-guzzling issue of shipping, which is why they recently opened a post-production manufacturing facility in Brooklyn.
“Our goal is to revolutionize retail,” Zaveri says. “The glasses are a first step. ”
Next time you’re in the market for glasses, give King Children’s app a try. We promise you’ll look (and feel) really smart. Keep an eye out (...get it?!) for their upcoming launch for IRIS, which, according to the R&D done by the King Children team, will be the best pair of computer glasses (blue blocking to relieve CVS/Computer Vision Syndrome) ever conceived.