Prescription lenses come of age at Maui Jim

Last month Maui Jim announced its plans to start prescription manufacturing in Germany. Chris Bennett finds out how the privately owned Hawaiian brand is taking on the European lens and sunglass giants in their own backyard

Maui Jim is proud of its private ownership, independence and its ‘ohana’ spirit but that does not mean it does not want to grow into an industry giant.

Prescription sunglass sales in Europe are soaring and for the company that brought the first branded prescription sunglasses to the market in 2005 that is good news. Maui Jim is known for its polarised, colour enhancing lenses and its decision to offer those same benefits with a prescription has proved a success.

Maui Jim’s prescription glazing has all been carried out in Peoria, Illinois, but that has not stopped Maui making big in-roads into the European market. The share of its products produced with prescriptions for readers or sunglasses is just over 25% says vice-president of Europe Hans Penzek. He says Maui has been able to live up to ohana – doing the right thing – by offering sunglasses on 6 and 8 base, decompensating and allowing users to build their own sunwear. This has ensured they got the same experience with prescription products as they did with plano.

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