Wazi Vision, a Uganda-based eyewear brand, recently secured investment from Renew Capital. Founded by Brenda Katwesigye Baganzi, who left a career in management consulting and risk advisory, Wazi aims to address the need for high-quality, customisable, and affordable prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses in the region. Baganzi joined forces with co-founder Geogette Ochieng Ndabukiye to bring this vision to life.
“Accessing high-quality eyewear in Africa is often prohibitively expensive and unattainable for the majority of the population. However, available alternatives are of subpar quality and fail to offer adequate value to customers,” Baganzi explained.
When Wazi Vision initially started, the idea was to provide low-cost eyewear. However, from talking to customers, the founders began to see an opportunity to also provide a solution for glasses that are designed for African facial features. Wazi offers a range of eyewear designed for different face shapes, nose shapes, and nose bridges, ensuring that its frames fit well and are comfortable. It also offers custom-made eyewear for customers who prefer bespoke design and fitting.
The glasses are made with high-grade acetate (a type of nylon-based plastic) to ensure the best quality frames. Wazi Vision is also currently testing the use of locally-sourced materials, including bamboo and cow horn, which they hope to put on the market soon.
The duo behind Wazi Vision shared the challenges they face, noting that potential customers often doubt the quality of Ugandan-made frames. To overcome this perception, they have enlisted thought leaders to wear the brand and vouch for its quality. This strategy has proven successful, as their research shows that referrals contribute to a significant portion of their customer base.
Another challenge is the investment required to pioneer the eyewear manufacturing process. “Research and development can be tedious and time-consuming and also requires capital – but it is a necessity to ensure that we are delivering a high-quality product to the market,” the founders said.
This article has been adapted from an interview originally published by Renew Capital.