Iristocracy Launches Online Model that Includes the ECP and Introduces Face-Tracking Virtual Try-On Technology


MADISON, Wis.—Online eyewear and accessories retailer, Iristocracy, launched today with a website that not only includes a new 3-D virtual try-on (VTO) technology but also encourages consumers to visit their eyecare professional when the frames arrive. Shoppers visiting the site can experience a new face-tracking technology licensed from French company, Total Immersion, that not only shows selected frames on the viewer’s face but also allows the user to move their head around while the frame remains virtually attached to the user’s face on the computer screen.

While this Total Immersion VTO technology is not exclusive to Iristocracy, it is the first company in the U.S. to offer Total Immersion’s new face-tracking technology, allowing for better scale and placement of the glasses. “It’s true augmented reality,” Natasha Vora, Iristocracy’s CEO and co-founder, told VMail. VTO will be available for tablets later this month and for smartphones later this year.

In addition, to establish a “bridge with ECPs,” Vora told VMail that Iristocracy encourages customers to take the eyeglasses they buy from the site to their eyecare provider. Iristocracy brands itself as “we are prescription free,” which means the company encourages online eyewear shoppers to have their prescription filled with their regular eyecare professional. Those who do so within 30 days of their order ship date can receive a $50 Visa prepaid gift card from Iristocracy.

Vora explained how the Iristocracy model works: “Consumers will shop for frames on Iristocracy and will have the frame shipped for free directly to them. When they receive their frame, information in their package will reinforce eye health and how they need to bring the frame to an eye doctor for the lens prescription. We also include a card that guarantees if anything happens to the frame while the lenses are put into the frame, we will guarantee the frame and replace it. After the customer gets the lenses filled, if they email a copy of their prescription, we will reward them for being responsible with eye health and send them a $50 Visa Gift Card.”

The Iristocracy website features a curated collection of select luxury ophthalmic frame lines paired with accessories such as handbags, jewelry, hats and watches that are also selected, stocked and sold by Iristocracy. Eyewear brands include Jean Reno, Ziggy, Les Pieces Uniques, Axel S., Cazal, and Linda Farrow and her collaborations with The Row, Matthew Williamson and Kris Van Asche. This list will continue to grow with a curated mix of recognized and independent brands.

Visitors can browse the wide array of products by brand, colors, face shape, face size, materials and price. The products are also categorized by personality. From bohemian and retro to classic and feminine, there are varieties to fit those looking to have their eyewear become an extension of their personal style. Lynn Richgels, who is a licensed optician with 17 years’ experience, will act as Iristocracy’s customer service manager to answer questions regarding what frames would best fit shoppers’ needs.

To further “expand relationships with ECPs,” Vora told VMail that frames are priced according to manufacturers’ suggested retail pricing so as not to undercut brick-and-mortar retailers. The company also plans to create an Ambassador Program for eyecare professionals by partnering with practices and stores to implement a kiosk program (iPad or desktop), thereby allowing the brick-and-mortar store to carry a “virtual” inventory of Iristocracy’s frames in a profit-sharing program.

Under the program, if the practice sells a pair of frames, they receive up to a 25 percent discount on the frame. The pilot program will launch Jan. 15, 2014, enabling ECPs to have the VTO technology in their practice. A retail locator will also be featured on Iristocracy by spring 2014 to give consumers a list of practices that are either Ambassadors or would like to be referenced as an option for the prescription lenses. There is no charge to be a part of the Ambassadors program, and interested ECPs can email for more information.