Who we are, why we do what we do, and how we got here
Visual Mass was founded on the belief that design-conscious eyewear need not cost an arm and a leg. Good-looking and good quality glasses can go hand in hand with a good price. Our aim is to revolutionise the eyewear industry by creating value for both our customers and the larger community.
The birth of Visual Mass started from an everyday problem that many face: Why is it so difficult to find modern, stylish glasses that are also affordable?
The answer lies in how the industry works. Large corporations dominate the eyewear industry, jacking up prices so as to reap huge profits from consumers who don’t have many options. Coupled with the fact that numerous middlemen are involved in the process (external designers, suppliers, distributors, marketers etc), each adding to the final cost, it’s no wonder that consumers’ wallets are left wanting.
Visual Mass was created to rebel against this system; we decided to bite the bullet and start this eyewear company.
We would do the designing, the liaising with factories, the distribution and the engaging with consumers entirely by our own — we would take it all on ourselves to do the hard work so you can reap the benefits. With this approach, we were certain we can provide good quality, good-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the current market prices.
Our belief paid off. Plying our wares and pitching our brand at flea markets, setting up pop-ups at cafes and even launching our web store led to us achieving a very encouraging response. By building on the support of our customers, we grew by leaps and bounds, eventually opening our second store recently at Orchard Gateway. And now we are here, proud to share with you our brand new look.
At Visual Mass, we strive never to overcomplicate things. A pair of well-designed prescription glasses are yours to keep from SGD$95. At these affordable prices, we’d even like to propose to you to get more than one – eyewear is a versatile accessory that can easily update and change your look, so why not give yourself options? Go on, browse away.
How did the name ‘Visual Mass’ come about?
‘Visual Mass’ represents our objectives of providing vision to everyone (‘mass’), and helping everyone look good (‘visually’) in our eyewear.
We believe that first and foremost, our customer should always leave happy. Whether this means it’s getting your first pair of Visual Mass glasses at a steal, getting a second pair that matches your new haircut, or repairing an old, well-loved pair, we will be right there with you every step of the way.
We believe that shopping for glasses should be an enjoyable, straightforward experience. Our glasses should do three things for you: It should leave you confident, good-looking, and with money in your pocket for a good dinner with your pals.
We also believe that everyone has the right to see, which forms our mission: to provide sight for the masses. We dream of a day when eyewear is available to all in need, empowering them to see a better world.
Today, statistics show that almost over 670 million people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15 per cent of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. It is our mission to address this problem. Visual Mass is actively working to partner with non-profits to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
In years to come, we want Visual Mass to be an exemplary leader in the eyewear industry, a game changer in most positive of ways. We want to exist not just to be a healthy business, but also as a brand that does good on a generous scale. We want our brand to matter, not just to ourselves but to everyone else, because we want to create experiences that the community talks about, is excited about and is proud of. We want to be leaders, and we want to pay it forward.
How is it possible to sell high-quality prescription glasses for $95?
Most of the luxury brand glasses you see in the stores are not manufactured by those same luxury brands. Instead, they sell those rights to large corporations who design, produce and supply branded glasses directly to optical retailers. These retailers then mark up the prices and lenses before you, the consumer, buys them.
This system is so prevalent that consumers really don’t have many options if they want glasses that boast both design and quality. But we are here to give you that option. We cut out the middleman by designing and producing our own eyewear, thus saving on a significant amount of cost which we can then pass on to you. You’re getting a wholesale price, because why would we want to mark up something so basic multiple times?
Who started Visual Mass?
Meet the young men who want to make a difference.
Jerial Tan, Co-Founder of Visual Mass
An optometry graduate, a problem solver, a whizz with numbers, a serial entrepreneur. Jerial is the more verbose of the two and can be found downing copious amounts of coffee and reading in cafes, learning about how to further build the business. The creative of the duo, he visualises the look and feel of Visual Mass and scrutinises every detail pertaining to the website, showroom, product design and packaging. He’s also a fan of “Shark Tank” and travels when he can to challenge himself and experience different cultures.
Jerial’s style tips:
Decide on a frame colour that suits your outfit and is appropriate for the occasion you’re wearing it for. It’s important to have a few options — I have 10 pairs of glasses and five sunnies — as you want to pick something that matches your look.
Eddie Tan, Co-Founder of Visual Mass
Born into a family of opticians, Eddie got his start in his chosen industry from a young age. Today he fronts Visual Mass with confidence, taking charge of operations, negotiations and human resource management. A self-confessed caffeine addict, he spends his free time in cafes, nursing a macchiato with his nose buried in the latest educational and business development books. The studious partner is able to converse fluently in Korean and makes regular pilgrimages both for work and play.
Eddie’s style tips:
A rule of thumb is always choose a frame shape that is different from your face shape. This creates a contrast that actually helps to balance your face silhouette.
Glasses should be treated as fashion accessories so match them to your outfits. I personally like rectangular and round frames in light colours — I wear Julian from our collection.
Why do you want to distribute glasses to people in need?
We have two simple goals.
- To provide sight for everyone.
- To build a business that can give back to the community.
Our One for You, One for Them initiative gives us the opportunity to achieve both goals. By creating affordable, well-designed glasses, we can achieve healthy demand, which in turn allows us to supply glasses to the underprivileged.
In our efforts to fulfill our commitment, we will work with nonprofits to distribute glasses and conduct basic eye-care training across the globe, reaching out to the underprivileged communities.
Read more on our One for You, One for Them initiative here.