Eyewear maker opens at YBI

Staff report


Fitz Frames, a children’s eyewear company, will open its manufacturing facility next week in the Youngstown Business Incubator’s Tech Block Building 5.

Fitz Frames was established earlier this year in Los Angeles by Heidi Hertel and Gabriel Schlumberger. Fitz Frames is a customized eyewear service specializing in children’s glasses including prescription, sunglasses and blue light lenses.

Fitz offers kids and parents customized 3D-printed glasses that are measured specifically for them. Custom glasses start at $95 or a subscription option of $185 per year, which includes two pairs and free frame replacements after that. Fitz does this through its app which allows the company to do facial mapping and lifelike virtual try-ons as well as technical designs such as snap-fit hinges.

After much research, the company decided on Youngstown, which Fitz officials heard about through one of their philanthropic partners.

“The more research we did, the more we were impressed with the city and saw it to be the Silicon Valley of all things 3D printing,” Hertel said. “The community has been really supportive and we have found solid talent coming out of the local universities.”

The company has seven workers at its Los Angeles headquarters. It has three in Youngstown and plans to add more, said Danielle Lopez, a Fitz spokeswoman.

“This is one of the milestones in additive manufacturing,” said Barb Ewing, YBI CEO. “We see a lot of new technologies being developed that are either related to the development of new pieces of AM equipment or materials, or products that are for low volume production, like aerospace or race cars. This is the next step in the evolution of the additive manufacturing market, and is another important milestone for the industry.”

She said for Youngstown, “this is a watershed event. Being able to attract a company of this caliber from Southern California to Youngstown is really a validation of our expertise in the market.”

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