Mister Spex: a Success Story
Around 40 million Germans need help seeing. Many people like to wear eyeglasses nowadays, unlike in the past, where they were often seen as a necessary evil rather than a fashion accessory. The less-than-welcoming attitudes of the past were also due to the high and extremely non-transparent prices charged for frames and lenses as well as a shopping experience that was often more clinical than emotionally appealing.
As the digital revolution began gathering steam, Dirk Graber asked himself whether and how customers could benefit from the emerging internet experience. His vision: to bring the advantages of e-commerce, i.e. a larger, immediately available range of looks and transparent price models, into optical retail and thus establish a new way of buying eyewear.
A vision becoming true
Together with Spreadshirt founder and business angel Lukasz Gadowski, Dirk Graber concretised his business model for an online optician and christened the company Mister Spex. Until then, the optical industry in Germany had completely ignored online sales. Also a part of the founding team: Björn Sykora, a friend of Graber's from his student days, and the two IT experts Philipp Frenkel and Thilo Hardt. Mister Spex was officially founded in December 2007, followed by the launch of the online shop in April 2008.
Education, advice, service: a brand establishes itself
The biggest challenge for Mister Spex has always been to explain to consumers that buying glasses online is less complex than it might seem at first glance. Already in the early years, Mister Spex used TV commercials to show the process and the advantages of buying eyewear online. The message: buying glasses online is not only fun, but also convenient, simple, and secure. The innovative digital fitting of glasses in 3-D as well as smart search and filter functions based on such factors as the shape of the face and the width of the frames make the experience of finding a new pair of glasses fun.
From e-commerce to omnichannel player
Since 2011, Mister Spex has not only been offering products, but also additional services such as eye tests and individual eyewear adjustments. To this end, the company entered into partnerships with local opticians in order to respond to customer service requests. Today, Mister Spex now has over 400 partners in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. In early 2016, Mister Spex opened its first offline store in Berlin's Alexa shopping centre. The company now operates over 60 of its own stores throughout Germany and Europe and has received multiple awards for its innovative business model.
The contemporary way to buy eyewear
Mister Spex is now active in ten European countries. In recent years, firms like Goldman Sachs have opted to invest in the company. Over 5 million satisfied customers have put their trust in the extensive services and high quality guaranteed by Mister Spex. The company employs over 1.400 people and has also been training apprentices since 2015. With its innovative omnichannel offerings, Mister Spex is perfectly positioned for the future. Online and offline.
Company founded with support from business angels Lukasz Gadowski (Team Europe), Oliver Beste, and Karsten Schneider
Mister Spex online shop in Germany goes live
Mister Spex goes live in France
Mister Spex now in the top 100 of online shops
Mister Spex goes live in the UK
Winner of the German Entrepreneur Award 2010 in the Start-Up category
Mister Spex goes live in Spain
Introduction of the virtual 3-D fitting
Launch of the Mister Spex partner programme with local opticians in Germany
Receives Award “Milestone in German Mail Order Business”
Mister Spex launches in Sweden
Named Online Shop of the Year for 2012
Acquisition of Swedish eyewear shops Lensstore and Loveyewear
Launch of the Mister Spex partner optician programme in Austria
Named best online optician in a study by the EHI-Retail Institute
Acquisition of Norwegian online shop lensit.no
Mister Spex goes live in Switzerland
Mister Spex goes live in the Netherlands
Launch of the Mister Spex partner optician programme in Switzerland
Opening of the first Mister Spex store in Berlin
Launch of the Mister Spex partner optician programme in the Netherlands
Mister Spex wins 2016 Red Dot Award
Mister Spex wins iF Design Award for offline store concept
Launch of the Mister Spex partner optician programme in Sweden
Named Germany's best online shop in the opticians category by the German Institute for Service Quality
Opening of the optician training centre in Münster
Go-Live of the first online vision test in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands
Mister Spex store number 25 opens in Gießen
Mister Spex acquires deep-tech company Tribe
Opening of first store in Sweden (Stockholm)
Opening of first store in Austria (Vienna)
Maren Kroll & Sebastian Dehnen join Management Board
IPO of Mister Spex SE
(Photo: Deutsche Börse AG / Martin Joppen)
Mister Spex store number 50 opens in Linz, Austria
Opening of first store in Switzerland (Zurich)