Luxottica’s Mutually Beneficial Relationship with Babson
Luxottica is part of just about every Babson graduate student’s wardrobe. The Italian eyewear company is responsible for about 70% of all eyewear brands ranging from high-fashion sunglasses to functional optics. The company’s retail headquarters are located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the past year, Josh Prickett, Manager of Diversity & Recruitment Outreach at Luxottica North America has worked closely with the Graduate Center for Career Development (“Grad CCD”). Specifically, he is responsible for recruiting, onboarding, and diversity outreach programs for the firm’s retail brands such as Sunglass Hut, Glasses.com, LensCrafters, Target and Sears Optical, and Pearle Vision. I recently spoke with Prickett about the company’s ongoing relationship with Babson students.
He informed me that Luxottica has become an industry leader because it adapted to the consumer’s preference for online purchases. This has proven to be a challenge because prescription eyewear customers rely on fit, function, and aesthetics when making a purchase. In order to improve the online experience, Luxottica developed a tool called the “Virtual Try-On” that provides each customer with an ability to experiment with different models and frames. In its never-ending effort to enhance the client experience, Prickett decided to leverage the innovative minds of graduate students at Babson to improve the usability of the Virtual Try-On tool. He proposed a design thinking challenge to Margaret Jones in Grad CCD who enthusiastically set up an event in Olin Hall. She enlisted Sid Astir (M’ 16), Co-President of the Design Thinking Club to help bring the event to fruition. It was held in the Design Zone in Olin Hall…a most appropriate venue.
On September 30, 2015, Prickett came to Babson with two other Luxottica executives. They judged eight teams consisting of 48 graduate students who proposed several creative ways to increase the adoption rate of the Virtual Try-On tool. Luxottica was impressed with the ideas the students devised and presented in such a short period of time.
He witnessed a wide array of innovative proposals including one that presented an ability to print a 3D model rendition of each selected frame. One proposal in particular stood out above the rest. The winning proposal consisted of a concept that utilized the Virtual Try-On tool as a photo booth experience. The booths could be established in places situated a distance away from the company’s brick and mortar locations such as pop-up shops, tourist areas, and bookstores. Prickett selected this team because their idea was “feasible and improved upon a concept that Luxottica had considered using.” Although the designs presented during the challenge haven’t been implemented yet, “the proposals have provided great feedback that will allow us to further refine what we have in the works, so you might see something soon.”
Each member of the winning team received a new pair of Ray Ban aviator sunglasses. In addition, Prickett kindly awarded all the contestants with a $150 credit towards Glasses.com, a moleskin notebook, and a USB power bank.
Prickett is looking forward to continuing his relationship with Babson. He was impressed with the turnout, professionalism, and innovative ideas that were presented. In addition, he told me that Luxottica and Babson have synergistic cultures. “A pillar of Luxottica’s culture is entrepreneurialism. I love working with Babson students for the obvious reason that the entrepreneurial spirit is emphasized and aligns with our culture. Luxottica is a company that is continually innovating and one must have an entrepreneurial spirit and approach to business issues in order to drive change.”
By Greg McQuade (M’16) – Graduate CCD Fellow