Meet Brenda Katwesigye Baganzi, the co-founder of Wazi Vision, a Uganda-based eyewear brand established to provide quality and affordable eyewear to Africans. Prior to starting Wazi Vision, she left a career in management consulting and risk advisory.
According to How We Made It In Africa, “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.”
Moreover, Baganzi makes her glasses from high-grade acetate so as to provide quality frames. The brand is also exploring the usage of bamboo and cow horns, and hopes to launch those designs on the market soon.
So far, her eyewear brand is making waves, but Baaganzi and her co-founder say they had to overcome several challenges in their quest to make quality eyeglasses affordable to others. According to them, potential buyers often doubt the quality of their Ugandan-made frames.
In order to win people’s confidence, they enlisted opinion leaders to wear the brand and vouch for its quality, and so far, the strategy has been proven successful following growing referrals to their brand.
Additionally, another challenge the co-founders experienced is the investment 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,” Baganzi and her co-founder explained.
According to Baganzi, she is making the brand visible through partnerships with insurance companies, corporate organizations, optometrists, and ophthalmologists.
“And we are also very excited about continued opportunities to give back to low-income communities,” she told Renew Capital. “Last year alone we were able to go out to low-income communities and hard-to-reach areas in different parts of Uganda and distributed hundreds of sets of Wazi frames to people who would otherwise not be able to access eyeglasses.”
Meanwhile, the company is planning to be a big player in the East African region. Although brands like Warby Parker have attempted to make some changes in terms of style and cost, Banganzi says there’s still plenty of room for disruption in terms of how people actually access eyeglasses.
“We know we must constantly evolve to stay ahead when it comes to innovation, both in our brand and type of designs and also the ways in which people can access and finance eyewear,” she noted.
Banganzi is an alumnus of Vodafone’s FLANE program, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, and sits on the Regional Advisory Board of the Young African Leader’s Initiative (YALI), according to Crunchbase.
She also has five years of combined experience in software development, systems analysis, project management, IT risk, assurance, and internal controls review.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication Engineering from Makerere University, Uganda.
Banganzi’s startup was also featured on Forbes’ “60 Women-Led Startups That Are Shaking Up Tech Across The Globe.”