Made in the U.S. and designed in Italy, Thema eyewear occupies a sweet spot in the eyewear world. The Italian-based company with a factory in Miami, Florida produces iGreen Hi-Tech, O-Six, Giorgio Valmassoi 1971 and MIA Private Label Collection at its American factory, offering eyewear that combines international design with American manufacturing.

Giulia Valmassoi, CEO of Thema North America, finds that this intersection benefits everyone. She told VM, “Italian Design, Made in USA is not only a huge incentive for U.S. shoppers but also a way of supporting the local economy. Think about: if you buy your bread from the local family-owned bakery, you are supporting your community. In addition, for most consumers buying American-made goods doesn’t just support the workers who make those goods, but it also builds a stronger community and stronger economy.” Knowing that your purchase is helping your local economy and community can be a massive motivator for consumers—and it’s something that resonates even more over the past year and a half, Valmassoi said.

In fact, building that local, personal connection with customers is one of the most important aspects of Thema’s business: Thema welcomes customers for factory tours regularly whenever safe. Valmassoi said, “In life, we tend to see the finished product and rarely consider the effort and hard work behind it. This is why we share the Thema experience with the customers that come to visit us. We find that each customer that gets the experience leaves understanding the art behind the manufacturing of each frame and loving the product even more… by making our designs here, instead of importing the finished product, it’s guaranteed that each frame is not just a beautiful masterpiece, but it’s also really ‘heart-made,’ because the outcome of what is done with passion becomes something unique and original as long as it’s transmitted in what we do and how we do it.”

Since March of 2020, Valmassoi has found that “In our industry, the COVID-19 crisis just accelerated the need for ECPs to offer unique quality products together with new digital services to connect with their patients.” Ironically, this was quite timely for the Thema team, who have spent the last five years working on new digital experiences for customers. Thema’s Virtual Eyewear Assistance Technology and 3D configurators “have helped our customers to stay in touch with their patients and provide the care they needed despite the lockdowns,” Valmassoi explained. Having virtual technology on hand during lockdowns—or just when patients would rather stay at home than come into the office—has been beneficial for Thema, ECPs and patients alike. “We closed Q2 of 2021 with record sales,” Valmassoi said. “Expanding our U.S. production almost 30 percent compared to 2019.”