BUSINESS: Retailers Zenni Optical Expands Leadership Team and Forms New B2B Platform, Zenni Business, to Offer a Suite of Eyecare Solutions By Staff Tuesday, September 26, 2023 12:27 AM NOVATO, Calif.—As Zenni Optical embarks on its next 20 years, one of the world’s leading online eyewear retailers, which marked its 20th anniversary in May of this year, reports that it continues to build a team that can drive innovation and growth and create new ways to bring eyewear and eyecare to customers and businesses. Zenni has added several new members to its leadership team who will work together "to elevate the importance of eye health, revolutionize the prescription process and optimize Zenni’s global operations and manufacturing," the company told VMAIL. Specifically, they’ll have a hand in developing and executing the strategies of Zenni’s newly formed B2B arm, Zenni Business, which aims to challenge the status quo of high margins and limited innovation currently dominated by legacy corporations. This new initiative offers an end-to-end suite of eyecare solutions, for both businesses and insurance companies, through its vertically integrated business model comprised of optical laboratories, manufacturing and logistics, frame design, technology and customer service. In 2022, David Ting, an experienced technology exeutive, joined Zenni as Zenni's global chief technology officer and general manager with the intent of leading the journey toward becoming a globally interconnected company, weaving Zenni’s departments and operations together through its culture, optical expertise and technology, the company said. (Top row) David Ting (l) and Steven Lee, OD. (Bottom row l-r) Brian Persons, Emily Sewell and Lee Zaro. “Zenni is entering a new chapter and bringing on some of the foremost experts in the industry is the first step to evolving the brand,” said Ting. “We’re excited to welcome these new team members, who together bring more than 50 years of experience to Zenni. I’m confident that their passion for eyewear will translate into the positive impact they bring to the company.” Steven Lee, OD, also joined the company last year as head of optical product and is steering the strategy and execution of Zenni’s optical product portfolio, bridging the realms of optical knowledge and cutting-edge technology. His diverse experience, from pioneering online vision tests to building and exiting an eyecare e-commerce venture, will help further advance Zenni’s product quality, the company said. Recently, three new executives joined Zenni, including Brian Persons, Emily Sewell and Lee Zaro, to enhance all facets of product development and distribution. Persons joins Zenni as senior director of business development with nearly 20 years of experience in sales. Most recently, Persons was employed by Luna Solutions, where he served as director of sales for Luna.io, managing a suite of integrated software and fulfillment tools for eyewear and eye-care. At Zenni, Persons will lead growth for Zenni Business. This, in part, will support Zenni’s exploration of strategic business partnerships and collaborations with ECPs and iECPs in the future. Sewell has more than 10 years of experience in operations and management. Prior to joining Zenni, she was the senior vice president, operations at Hubble Contacts, where she oversaw the company’s end-to-end global supply chain. As senior director of operations at Zenni, Sewell will be responsible for launching insurance acceptance and advancing the operations and product offerings at Zenni, utilizing her previous knowledge and experience in these arenas. Zaro has more than 25 years experience in the eyewear industry and has worked with over 28 brands in the boutique, wholesale global market and direct to consumer online categories. Most recently, Zaro was head of product development and sourcing at Pair Eyewear, responsible for the complete production lifecycle of product and packaging. At Zenni, he will be heading up all product design and development, along with sourcing for frames and lenses. In May of this year, Zenni marked its 20th anniversary, noting that it has sold 51 million pairs of glasses worldwide since its inception in 2003. At that time, the company cited a 15 percent year-over-year,sales increase, adding that more than 60 percent of customers returned in the last year. "Two decades ago, Zenni disrupted the traditional eyewear retail industry due to our core and unwavering belief that stylish and quality eyewear should be affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Julia Zhen, CEO of Zenni. “Since starting the company in my Bay Area garage, I’m incredibly proud of the thousands of global Zenni team members over the years who had a hand in helping us reach these milestone sales numbers and more importantly, allow us to give back to those in need and advance our mission to provide eyewear to those in need and advance our mission to provide eyewear to everyone.” Last year, Zenni announced the company’s first U.S.-based manufacturing and shipping facility in Ohio, showcasing its commitment to American-made glasses and creating domestic jobs, while ensuring customers could receive their favorite eyewear in as little as two days in the U.S. with a new service called Fast Frames. In addition to the brand’s U.S. expansion, Zenni continues to invest in partnerships with the biggest names in fashion and sports such as Iris Apfel, Cynthia Rowley, NFL 49ers player George Kittle and his wife Claire, MLB Hall of Famer David Ortiz and more recently, entertainer and actress, Keke Palmer. Zenni has been providing vision and mental health resources, vision screenings and eyeglasses to children, families and communities who need it most. Since its start, Zenni has donated more than 1.2 million pairs of glasses, 2.1 million PPE kits and has awarded more than 320 academic scholarships. With its Zenni Impact program, Zenni is introducing a new community impact initiative—Zenni’s Vision Van.