Maui Jim, the American brand of polarized sunglasses, has been gradually launching its first full ranges of prescription frames and ophthalmic lenses, in tune with what Oakley and other major eyewear brands have been doing recently, backing up this new project with an additional lens manufacturing facility in Europe.
The move can be regarded as a way to accompany the brand's formerly young consumers outdoors as well as indoors when their vision starts requiring correction, offering them and the opticians a single point of contact, a full service and all-inclusive price points.
In the initial test phase, Maui Jim has allowed a restricted number of opticians around the world to introduce these lines over the past year and a half, without any major promotion. In Europe, the new program has been gradually adopted since last autumn by around 150 opticians in Germany, the U.K., the Scandinavian countries and Spain.
In connection with the Opti show in Munich last month, the collection has been made available to opticians all over Germany. It will be gradually rolled out to other countries in Europe and the rest of the world in the next 12 to 18 months.
The company's new ophthalmic lenses have been produced until now in the company's U.S. laboratory in Peoria, Illinois, which has been making its high-tech plano and RX sun lenses up to now for the global market. Starting in the second quarter of this year, Maui Jim's new line of corrective clear and sun lenses will also be made at a similar new facility in Braunschweig, Germany, to service opticians in Europe, the Middle East and possibly also in India.
The products, including a line of readers, will be shown on Maui Jim's website from mid-March. A campaign on social media will accompany a promotion of the sun RX line in Europe this summer in cooperation with about 1,500 out of the 10,000-odd optical retail stores that work with Maui Jim in the region. It will give consumers a money-back guarantee for 60 days in case of non-satisfaction.
In addition to more affordable single-vision lenses, two proprietary progressive lens designs have been developed for the new collection, MauiPassport Everyday for everyday activities and MauiPassport Office for people spending most of their day in front of a screen. The lenses, which are available in six optional materials, including Trivex and a variety of polycarbonates, come with a variety of optional treatments and coatings that make them overall rather competitive.
Maui Jim's new 1.67-index polycarbonate lenses are available with a proprietary High-Contrast technology that selectively reduces yellow light and glare from bright lights. The company claims that this material, which is particularly well suited for the ageing eye, allows better color contrast and color definition, while making it easier to read fine print.
Another proprietary 1.67-index technology, called HEV for High Energy Visible light, allows beneficial blue light to come in for improved contrast and resolution and helps protect the wearer against eye strain, tired eyes, blurred vision and potential retinal damage.
Maui Jim has also created a collection of 59 styles of prescription frames, four of which are compatible with clip-on sun lenses. The models are rimless or in metal, thin injected nylon, acetate or sea glass, a material formed from bottles and other glass objects discarded into the ocean.
Following a five-year-old policy of staying out of trade shows and reinvesting its savings into consumer advertising, Maui Jim will not have a stand at the Mido fair in Milan this coming weekend. It will show its latest collection of sunglasses in the Barcelo Hotel in the city, but not its ophthalmic program.