January 12, 2011, 1:10 PM

Bluefly focuses on a new eyewear site

Apparel retailer Bluefly plans to launch prescription eyewear site Eyefly.com this spring.

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Apparel retailer Bluefly Inc. is betting that its fashion-conscious customers will be interested in accessorizing their looks with eyeglasses. The company is partnering with A+D Labs, an eyewear design and manufacturing firm, to launch a new eyewear e-commerce site in the spring called Eyefly.com. Bluefly will own 52% and A+D 48%.

“Our customers look to us for head-to-toe dressing and since we really see eyewear as a fashion accessory, it is an optimal addition to our offering. Our customers have dozens of shoes; why should they limit themselves to one pair of glasses?” says Bradford Matson, chief marketing officer, Bluefly, No. 163 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Eyefly.com will sell men’s and women’s frames and lenses for $99 in addition to reading glasses and sunglasses. The site will include a virtual “try-on” feature that will let shoppers upload their photos and place the frames on the photos to see how they look. Shoppers will also be able to share the photos on Facebook and e-mail them to friends for feedback.

Both Bluefly and A+D are based in New York and have been working on the partnership plans for the last nine months, says Matson.

“It’s a clean split. A+D is the design, manufacture and lab side and will distribute the glasses. Bluefly is the web site building and marketing side,” Matson says. The two companies will share customer service, he says

Bluefly plans to launch the site with aggressive online marketing and promotions on the Bluefly.com site. Once Eyefly.com is up and running, there will be a strong connection between the two sites, Matson says. For example, glasses from Eyefly.com will be recommended with coordinating outfits and vice versa.

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