The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that approximately 26.3 million people in Africa have a form of visual impairment, 550 million people need glasses but barely 1% own a pair. It is from these sobering statistics that Lapaire was founded in February 2018 in Kenya to revolutionize access to eyewear by creating a cost-efficient and high-quality solution to this growing problem. According to Jérôme Lapaire, founder of the Lapaire Group, “Lapaire makes everyone, young and old, aware of their vision problems and therefore it strives to support those who need to purchase glasses cost-effectively.”
The Pan-African Eyewear brand has so far extended its vision to 6 other African countries like Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Benin with the hope of becoming the go-to eyewear brand on the continent. With over 112 extensively trained professionals, the company’s Eye Care Awareness Campaign has been able to carry out over 50,000 eye tests and change the lives of over 35,000 people in Africa, by offering corrective lens glasses, educating people about their eyes’ wellbeing as well as sharing eye care tips. Having good vision by wearing stylishly tailor-made glasses helps one connect with their surroundings, increase their productivity, gain confidence and also help maintain the sharpness of their minds.
In Uganda, the company is improving lives in 3 cities: Kampala, Jinja, and Mbarara with a vision of expanding to Northern Uganda before the end of 2021, as well as widening their cast of the B2B (Business to Business) net. Expansion for any company comes with different challenges but majorly being able to tap into the market at a competitive advantage. For Lapaire, affordability, accessibility, and style have been part of their market entry strategy.
In collaboration with innovative international lens makers, the company offers tailor-made and cost-effective glasses ranging from Ugx 105,000/= (inclusive of the frame and anti-glare lenses) and sunglasses that range from Ugx 40,000/=. Customers also have the option of paying for their purchases in three installments by cash, mobile money, or cheque until the delivery is done. Also, the convenience of the brand by allowing customers to make online appointments through their social media platforms at lapaire.ug and LapaireGlasses-UG on Instagram and Facebook respectively has made the company stand out.
In partnership with Cedars, Guardian, and Perfect Care pharmacies, Lapaire’s “Your Eyes Well-Being is our Priority” campaign has been able to offer free on-site eye screening and testing at these pharmacies’ locations in Kampala and its outskirts. These timely definitive tests have helped people in these communities be aware of any existing refractive errors and other eye conditions that need immediate address, thus maximizing the benefits of these tests and screening for the participants.
With respect to style, finding the perfect pair of eyeglasses has never been an easy task! Face shape, wire or acetate frames have always been questions that linger in customers’ minds. This is why Lapaire is very much aware of the need to integrate the basic functioning of eyeglasses with the ability to smarten one’s appearance without breaking the bank. The eye and sunglasses’ frames from Lapaire are exclusively named after African cities and islands respectively giving one exceptional confidence to stand out and feel at home.
Indeed, everyone deserves to see well! But at what cost? The continued innovativeness of Lapaire is definitely one of the rays of light Africa needs to tap into this problem for a visually inclusive continent.