Thema’s Virtual Eyewear Assistant Uses Modern Digital Tools to Build a Custom Frame


MIAMI—The Valmassoi family of Thema are using their history of Italian frame making to bring new capabilities to the company’s U.S. factory in Miami, and, most recently, are applying new digital technology to the company’s work on 3D acetate production. For some time, Thema has been offering customization options for its iGreen and O-Six lines as well as for the new Black Label collections debuting this fall. The latest initiative, as explained by Guilia Valmassoi, CEO of Thema USA, was the debut at Mido 2019 of the concept of the VEA (Virtual Eyewear Assistant), advanced new ideas of what could be possible in a retail setting and used a mix of tools to redefine customization and show the art of manufacturing. The VEA system uses Thema’s software and hardware, and takes a very precise measurement of a wearer’s face (biometric measurements for each individual), interprets that data, offers choices to the patient and customizes the frame within a few days. Valmassoi emphasized, “We do not do 3D printing. We work only with acetate, and we view our factory here as an extension of our Italian factory.”

Edward Beiner’s Eyes Forward was the first retailer in the U.S. to showcase the VEA virtual facial recognition technology in his Mary Brickell Village location in Miami. Beiner recently told the Miami’s WSVN TV station, “Here’s an opportunity to take a product that’s been done traditionally the same way for hundreds of years, and now we’re using 21st century technology to make a pair of glasses.” The proprietary scan, via an iPad, captures 500,000 points on your face to create an image that is then processed to “choose” some 20 or 30 styles to fit the user’s face. With additional customization choices, and a process that takes two or three days, the glasses are finished.

Valmassoi told VM that she is just now announcing two new partners for VEA in New York who will start up soon. Frank De Paolo owner of Successful Vision, Pelham, N.Y. said, “What really excites me about VEA is it is an extension tool for me to be able to further immerse my customer into our experience. The partnership that we have with Thema is special in that we share similar philosophies and the software further illustrates (literally) our shared end result and passion.” Also starting will be Vladimir Mordukhayev, owner, Modern Day Optx, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, who talked about his excitement of setting himself apart. “Shopping for eyeglasses should be fun, memorable and educational. An educated client is a client for life. Questions are meant to be asked.”

There will be a select group of additional partners using the system in the Chicago area and in Washington D.C. soon, Valmassoi added.