By Sally Zhang
Sahir Zaveri struggled for years to find glasses that fit his face and personality. During his junior at Brown University, he realised he wasn’t alone. Many of his friends (including his dorm neighbour and future co-founder Dave Lee) shared the same problem.
Zaveri soon discovered an even bigger problem: the eyewear industry was incredibly wasteful. With the help of Lee, he conducted studies that found more than half of eyewear produced each year gets tossed in the trash. The friends spent the following summer researching 3D printing technology, and came to the conclusion that there was an untapped market for custom eyewear that wasn’t just stylish, affordable and scalable – but sustainable, too. The duo jumped on the opportunity, and King Children was born.
“King Children stands for a new way of doing business for the future of the fashion industry as a whole,” says Zaveri. “A way in which we can do business without squandering resources while still satisfying customers and their desire for variety.”
Zahir developed a new, laser-based technology that takes unused material from one production cycle and feeds it into the next one, eliminating waste. And because 3D printing technology allows King Children to produce eyewear after the customer places an order, there’s no unused inventory to throw out.
“We think of this as the holy grail of a zero waste inventory system, where the product is made for each individual customer,” says Zaveri.
Before any of their eyewear hits the 3D printer, King Children’s creative team of designers and researchers use Dropbox to collaborate on data-packed 3D design files. “Version control is very important,” says Zaveri. “At each stage you're making a change, but you also may want to go back to an earlier version because there's an idea in there that you really like.” Easy access to organised, updated files means the design team can change course on an idea quickly. Once designs are complete, the team relies on Dropbox to send extra-large files to their production team in India. “Having a system like Dropbox that allows you to transfer a large file easily is really helpful,” says Zaveri.
As King Children’s business grows, so does their social impact mission. Zaveri is focused on partnering with community-minded teams and brands (they recently developed limited-edition eyewear to support breast cancer awareness) and he plans to chart a new path towards inclusivity and self-expression in the fashion industry.