Jins Eyewear to open US flagship

Japanese eyewear brand Jins is coming to America, and will open its first U.S. flagship April 10.

The 4,900 sq. ft. store in San Francisco's Union Square will house more than 1,200 different styles of eye glasses. It will also feature an unusual technological detail.

Jin promises to reduce the wait time for prescription glasses to 30 minutes from start to finish, thanks to a robot called Kanna. The automated production process edges aspheric lenses on-site while customers wait. Glasses are priced between $60 and $120.

The store will feature four styles of Jins frames for the U.S. market: Airframe, Classic, Neo Luxe and Soul Style. All will be displayed on simple, well-lit rail systems.

"Eyeglasses are small, delicate objects that might get lost in a large space, but we made sure that they are easy to touch and try on, by organizing them in a system of simple, well-lit, repetitive grids," said Denis Henmi, President and CEO of Kwan Henmi. "This simplicity and accessibility has deep roots in the Jins brand, and are qualities that recur throughout our store design."

Jins operates 329 stores (including a drive through) in Japan and China, and claims to be Japan's largest eyewear chain by volume. Jins produces 5.4 million pairs of glasses annually, or 10 pairs every minute.

Jins is the newest retailer bent on disrupting the prescription eyeglass market that has, until recently, been dominated by Luxottica. Luxottica owns many of the leading eyeglasses brands, Pearl Vision and Lenscrafters, in addition to operating the optical departments and making many licensed brands for retailers including Sears and Target.  

Online solutions such as Warby Parker, Frames Direct and Eyeglass.com are a growing market, but even runaway success story Warby Parker has been opening physical showrooms to grow market share.

For more:
-See this Jins Eyewear press release
-See this Quartz article

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