Interviews | May 3, 2017

Q&A – Invu

Jerry Dreifuss, CEO of Swiss Eyewear Group, agress that R&D had an important role in the INVU success, wheter talking about polarized lens or LCD displays

words Enrico S. Benincasa

“Being always ‘at the pulse’ of any new developments, be it in new material innovations, lens technology or the latest design trends is a key strategy for us”. These words from Jerry Dreifuss perfectly summarize how INVU faces the eyewear market’s challenges. Let’s discover what the Swiss brand will be launching for the upcoming Mido.

INVU and Swiss Eyewear Group were established in 2013. The results in the first three years were brilliant. Over 3 million pairs of sunglasses sold in more than 75 countries by 2016. Before starting this journey, what was your goal for this point in time?

From day one, we focused on achieving global distribution in order to establish INVU as a global brand. Even though we have set ourselves ambitious targets, we have been taken by surprise at the overwhelming reception we have had. The positioning of INVU as a high quality impulse sunglasses brand with polarized lens technology at an affordable price range, has led to outstanding sell-out results.

Is Italy still one of the countries where you sell the most? Which are the other important markets for INVU?

Yes, Italy is one of the top markets not only for sunglasses, but also for our INVU optical collection and the INVU reading glasses. Our initial key markets were France, USA, Benelux, Russia and Switzerland. In the meantime, Southeast, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia are growing rapidly. In the prestigious Travel Retail channel, INVU currently has annual growth rates of more than 100%.

INVU has a collection dedicated to kids. Do you think there are significant possibilities of growth in it?

We are one of the leading brands for kids’ sunglasses and we see a significant potential in this segment, particularly in Southern Europe. With INVU being a ‘Brand for Everyone’, kids’ sunglasses for Swiss Eyewear Group play an important role.

Research and technology are fundamental for INVU e SEG brands. Can you tell us the share of your budget dedicated to this area?

SEG has a significant team of eyewear designers and engineers located in Zürich who work closely with our own people located in the producing countries. Along with our marketing investments into the INVU brand, spending on research and technology is the single largest expense item for us.

The new LCD Display Technology is an important tool for opticians to show clients the benefits of polarized lenses. How long did it take to develop this technology?

It took us about 1.5 years to develop this amazing display. Working together with optical retailers in the development stage made sure that we came up with a tool that perfectly met the requirements of the optical trade. This display gives retailers the opportunity to show consumers the unique benefits of the INVU ultra polarized lenses, using state of the art LCD display technology.

At the moment SEG has three brands, INVU, Ripcurl and Marc Stone. Are you thinking about expanding your portfolio?

We are planning to add more brands to our portfolio where it makes strategic sense, rather than overlapping with an existing brand. Having said that, we want to have a small portfolio of brands that allows us to spend enough time and focus on each of those brands to develop them towards strong retail success.

Are you going to show something new in Milan for the upcoming Mido?

During the upcoming Mido we will present a new range of the proprietary polarizing LCD Displays and the latest INVU ‘Spring Flyer’ Collection. Moreover, we will introduce the new ‘I Wear Red’ collection that is being launched together with Sightsavers, a non-profit organization that supports children in need with the ‘gift of sight’. With each pair of sunglasses from the ‘I Wear Red’ collection, Swiss Eyewear Group is donating an amount that covers the cost of a pair of prescription glasses for children in need.