This week I’m looking at the world of glasses … not as in “wine” glasses but as in spectacles! Serial entrepreneur Scott Woodhead is co-founder of the company My Glasses Club, which claims to be the world’s first subscription based glasses club. Intrigued? So was I …. so I chatted with him to find out more. Welcome Scott…
Hi! I’m Scott Woodhead, one of the co-founders of My Glasses Club. I’m 31 and live in a lovely little Yorkshire town called Richmond with my wife Anneka and our 14 day old son Emerson.
My Glasses Club is the world’s first subscription based glasses club. What gave you the idea in the first place?
Well, I noticed lots of clubs cropping up selling everything from artisan coffee and organic foods, vegetables to healthy snacks and even gourmet sausages. But I questioned whether many were solving a real problem or just jumping on the subscription model bandwagon. I have observed for many years the frustrations of many glasses wearers who complained about the upfront cost of owning glasses and then servicing them when lenses got damaged or prescriptions changed. So I asked myself the question, could we use a subscription model to solve these real problems?
What is the aim of My Glasses Club?
Our aim as a team is to learn, grow, have some fun and make a difference. If we can do that over the coming years then by my definition we have been successful. If we can also make it easier and more affordable for consumers to own multiple use pairs, then we would have realised part of our vision.
What benefits do members enjoy that they wouldn’t necessarily enjoy at a traditional High Street opticians when it comes to buying spectacles?
I think the type of consumer that shops with us is not only price savvy but wants to do everything from the comfort of their own home in a few clicks and have it delivered to their door. So I would say price and convenience are the big advantages of shopping with us over a high street optician. Members also get our free reglazes guarantee which is very unique and covers their lenses against damage or prescription changes.
Can you explain your “Buy A Pair, Give A Pair” promise?How important is the charity aspect to your company?
In all the businesses I have started having a deeper purpose is very important to me. A lot of entrepreneurs these days seem to get into business so they can personally profit. But in my view business is about giving. Giving back to your staff, customers, suppliers and wider communities. Our “Buy a Pair Give a Pair” is one aspect of how we are using of the business to help others. So whenever someone joins our club we give someone in Africa a pair of glasses.
Your range of prescription spectacles and sunglasses is vast and covers designers such as Hugo Boss, Vivienne Westwood and Jimmy Choo. What brand seems to be the most popular with members? Do you have a favourite brand?
Well, Vivienne Westwood and Jimmy Choo seem to be getting the most attention amongst our female audience. I particular love our Original Penguin frames which are really unusual and subtly branded.
Can you tell us a bit more about the order process?
Customers visit our website with a budget in mind. So we have 4 membership plans to cater for everyone starting at £0.99. Each plan has a selection of frames, with the more expensive plan including the top brands. All they do is select a frame, upload a prescription and choose any additional lens extras on top of the ones which we include with each plan and then the customers glasses are delivered within 5 days. All members get our reglaze guarantee which covers their lenses against damage or prescription changes and then every six months they can choose another pair.They pay one off joining fee of £30 and each plans is billed monthly via Direct Debit with no contracts so they are free to cancel at anytime.
This is a UK based club at the moment – have you any plans to venture overseas with the idea?
Of course, our research has shown that there is a pent up demand for our business model worldwide, but we want to maximise the potential of our home market here in the UK first before we start tackling the wider opportunity. When we do internationalise, we may have to adapt the flavour, and I am excited by that challenge.
Hypothetically speaking, what famous person would you love to have as the “face” of My Glasses Club?
Chris Evans would have been great, but I think he had laser surgery!?
Being a serial entrepreneur, what was the best piece of business advice you ever received? And dare I say it, the worst (in respect that you followed the advice but it didn’t work out as you hoped)?
The best advice I have been given is to have fun. Business will have its ups and downs but if you’re not enjoying yourself what’s the point. I think when you are having fun and enjoying yourself progress takes care of itself. I can’t really point my finger at anyone and blame them for giving me bad advice that failed, at the end of the day if I took the advice the responsibility lies with me.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Anything that is comfortable. This has got me into trouble though at times, when I refused to wear and shirt or tie for my wedding.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I don’t really enjoy shopping and prefer to use my time either with family and friends, working on making MGC better or being with nature.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Well as soon as I get a hole in something it is usually the moment when I look to Anneka and say “help”.
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes that are comfortable, unless I am walking in the Dales then sturdy boots are a must.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about My Glasses Club.
Thank you Scott for explaining the concept of My Glasses Club! I’m sure you’ve given many readers food for thought. What do you think? Is this an idea that could work for you?
All photos have been published with kind permission of My Glasses Club