i-MEGANE: Glasses that Last
When Shinichi Suzuki, the owner of two eyeglasses shops in Hokkaido, Japan, first visited Ho Chi Minh City in 2011, his intention wasn’t to open a business in Vietnam. However, as he visited local shops to check their wares, he wasn’t satisfied. The quality of the frames and the choices available weren’t what he expected from a rapidly growing city like Saigon.
Rather than expanding his business to Tokyo like he originally planned, Suzuki decided to head south. Today i-MEGANE glasses boasts locations on Dien Bien Phu Street in District 3 and Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1, and more locations are soon to come. There are two reasons for this rapid expansion: i-MEGANE has a huge selection of high-quality frames, glasses and contact lenses, and employees who take pride in customising every pair to fit each customer’s individual lifestyle.
One of Suzuki’s primary concerns when he first visited Ho Chi Minh City’s glasses shops was the quality of the products. Although frames were cheap, he noticed that there was a reason
for it: the lifespan of many local frames was just one to two years – something that becomes
costly as a customer keeps replacing an easily damaged product.
By contrast, in true Japanese fashion, glasses at i-MEGANE transcend typical spectacles and become works of art and design. The materials are better, stronger and more flexible; the lenses are more precise, durable and thinner; and the frames are elegant, sophisticated and subtle.
Many of the 4,000 frames i-MEGANE has in stock help rethink the comfort of traditional glasses. For example, when a person wears a pair of normal glasses, there are three points that allow the glasses to rest on the head: one on each ear and the third on the bridge of the nose. This model has worked well for hundreds of years, but Japanese designers have discovered that it can be done better.
Image source: i-megane
Some of the premium frames offered at i-MEGANE are made of a new, highly flexible titanium that increases the amounts of “resting points” on the head. For those who wear these new designs, the difference is clear: the glasses feel lighter, don’t shift as often as traditional
glasses and don’t break as easily.
Tai Kitamura, the Assistant Director of i-MEGANE, explains the new technology and adds, “If it’s not made in Japan, it’s probably not made like this. Rather than a lifespan of one to two years, these glasses hold up five or six times as long.”
Finding Glasses for Every Lifestyle
Here’s the undeniable truth: with glasses, one size definitely does not fit all. The success of a good pair of glasses depends primarily on the lifestyle of the person wearing them and what they want to use them for: while a pair of glasses might be perfect for one person, it might be completely unsuitable for another. And when you’re looking to buy something that you use every minute of every day, there’s no room to mess around.
Tai lists the many factors that go into choosing the right glasses for a customer: “Our doctors will ask you questions about your work, your lifestyle, how many glasses you have, what you’ll use the glasses for… If you go to other stores, they can measure the power of your eyes, but they don’t think about your lifestyle. Plus, there’s our lenses. We can order a full line-up of made-in-Japan progressive lenses to make sure you have the best products available.”
Image source: i-megane
At i-MEGANE’s Le Thanh Ton location, English-speaking optometrists and employees have become trusted and artful long-term vision consultants and every customer gets the warm welcome and friendly service that’s become a trademark of Japan. Although i-MEGANE’s Le Thanh Ton store opened in 2015, the professionalism of this company goes back decades. The flagship store in Hokkaido, for example, just celebrated its 86-year anniversary.
“Our customers will buy two or three glasses for different purposes. We often see customers who come back after four or five years just to change the power of the lenses,” he says. “That’s how good our glasses are.”
122 Le Thanh Ton, D1 | +84 28 3823 7200 | Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
285B Dien Bien Phu, D3 | +84 28 3930 3025 | Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Banner image source: i-megane