In honor of Tuesday’s presidential election, eyewear company Benji Frank launched a “Framing the Political Debate” initiative, which encourages users to virtually outfit Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a pair of its frames and then share the image on Facebook. Benji Frank plans to donate a pair of glasses for every 10 image shares; on Election Eve, the company says it has plans to donate 100 pairs.
But this isn’t just another Election Day gimmick sponsored by a business hoping for a presidential boost. The company’s name—Benji Frank (named after Benjamin Franklin)—and products are all inspired by presidents. Founders Mohsin Momin and Azim Karedia were influenced by Franklin, who never patented any inventions for profit because he wanted to allow all people to benefit from his contributions. “Franklin was a great leader and a visionary inventor, and we wanted to follow that theme of selflessness in our company,” Momin says. That doesn’t mean they are giving their product away, but Benji Frank, like fellow eyeglass company Warby Parker, was founded on the idea that quality frames shouldn’t cost a fortune (the company’s glasses cost $100).
And, according to Momin, they plan to stick with the inspirational motif: “After we came up with Benji Franklin, we decided to continue with the presidents theme in our products, almost as if they were leaders in the category.” Currently, all 25 unisex styles are named after presidents, but Momin says the company plans to unveil collections named after inventors and other dignitaries in future years. And, in deference to the leader who inspired the company’s name, Benji Franklin has weaved philanthropy into its corporate culture: Its “One Pair, One Vision” program donates a portion of sales from each pair of glasses to Sightsavers and Operation Eyesight, organizations that aim to help restore sight to low-income citizens.