Driving an integrative product idea
Driving an integrative product idea
Glasses for black people
As a designer – or rather as an empathic person – you are trained and thus also affinity to see connections or to recognize problems. In this case, product designer Ackeem Ngwenya (founder of Reframd) recognized it. He studied in South Africa at the Stellenbosch University Jewelry Design / Philosophy and in London at the Royal College of Art and at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and specializes in product and service development using generative designs, digital manufacturing, and prototyping.
Like us, he believes that design has the power to shape society in all aspects of our daily life – regardless of whether it is inclusive or not. In most cases, apparently rash decisions have unintended consequences, making some people worse off than others. In the case of Ackeem Ngwenya, it was the realization that glasses, in general, are not designed to fit the nose types of black people. Ultimately, this means that millions of people all over the world wear products that are not made for them.
Ackeem Ngwenya turned to us to develop a successful business from his knowledge and idea.
The 5W approach
The first in the aim of our partnership and advice was to provide him with clarity in the product and business model. With our holistic approach – 5 designerly WAYZ – we learned together and opened up possible fields. How customizable is the product? How big is the product range? Visual aids or just sunglasses – or both? Do you need other differentiating and recognizable accents in addition to the special ergonomics?
With qualitative interviews and desktop research, the first step was to discover to what extent black people are open to a product “for black people” without using clichés of stigmatization in order to avoid senseless product ideas such as “computers for women” or supposed ideas of “ young products ”.
Which customer segments are addressed – with which promise? In which markets do you start and through which channels? How does Reframd want to be with its customers? Star or best friend? Product or movement? Where and how are the sales generated? Does a franchise system make sense? Which resources can be used internally and which partnerships would be desirable? How far is the offer scalable? Which trends and social developments, which technologies are already recognizable that are relevant for the company?
Together with Reframd, we developed step-by-step iterative steps, scenarios of the strategic fields of action, and a suitable brand story to enable Reframd to drive product development in a targeted manner, to develop strategic alliances, to acquire venture capital to enable market entry. It is important for us to enable the young company to write the history of its future and develop the business on the jointly developed toolbox.
Glasses with a low and wide bridge
Reframd is a company that focuses on the design and manufacture of eyewear products that confidently match a variety of black nose types; because what we wear affects how we feel and how others perceive us, and how we feel affects our ability to influence the world around us. Reframd develops new standards for the design of eyeglass frames – so that they fit the lower nose profiles of its customers, which in turn improves the comfort and access of its customers to style and size options. Reframd wants to increase the value of its customers through products specially developed for them.
an Afropolitan Eyewear Brand
Young, urban, and culturally-savvy generations of Africans and people of African descent with a global perspective can be found in major cities from London, Paris, New York, Berlin, and Lagos to Johannesburg. Afropolitans have a passion for style and self-expression. They want to be represented in the products they buy and support independent brands that represent them on a global level.
The magic comes together through the innovative technological agreement of parametric design and additive manufacturing. Reframd’s products exist as adaptable chunks of information until the time of purchase, which gives the company the flexibility to respond more quickly to requirements and changes in fashion trends.