Eyecare Business

OCT 2016

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eb: How do you curate a really cool frame assortment? mm: First off is to know your cus- tomer. You have to pay very close attention to what they say and do and how they react to what is on the floor. We keep notes on what we feel is missing or lacking and are constantly reviewing the selection to make sure we are covering all of our bases. Also, when exploring a collection, we always go through a series of questions that need to be answered before anything is introduced to the shop. As far as finding new brands, you have to keep your pulse on what is happening. We follow Luxury Eyewear Forum on social media for both news and tips and to keep on top of new collections. We also go to trade shows and network with reps and other optical shops to find out what is out there and working for others. eb: How do you show off the frames in your boutique? mm: All of our frames have a home, which is good and bad. We have a very clean, organized shop, and it's easy to see if something has been misplaced or stolen. The downside is we really have no flex space, and if we are super busy we can end up with holes on the boards. Now we keep some back stock just for that reason alone. eb: What are the big trends you see now in optical retail? mm: I think we are in an important time for the industry, and I am very curious to see where it goes from here. You see the model rapidly changing at every level— retail, wholesale—and new players are showing up almost daily. With the recent growth in online eyewear sales, I think the price people expect or are comfortable paying is beginning to decrease. Even in retail, you are starting to see "boutique-style" discount shops opening across the country. You can't compete solely on price anymore. This is why I think quality and personal service will be paramount to the independent optical shop's success. I also think at some point the online model and the retail model will converge. I think there is a space where the power of the online model can be harnessed to push people into the independent shops where they can get a proper fit and a good selection of lenses, creating a win-win situation. You see the success of Warby Parker and its ability to transition the online shopper into a retail shopper—and, in doing so, provide a more suc- cessful transaction and also yield a higher-priced sale through recommendations and upgrades. When shopping online, people almost always go for the cheapest route, but when the benefits of upgrades are explained properly, they usually will accept the recommendation. I think for online brands to be successful, they need to work with the independent retailers, not fight against them. —Jackie Micucci Jackie Micucci has covered the eyewear industry for almost 20 years and has written for a variety of publications, including The New York Times and Seattle magazine. B U Y E R ' S F O R U M 32 E y e c a r e B u s i n e s s . c o m October 2016 Clean spaces and fun displays are hallmarks of Sight I think there's a space where the power of the online model can be harnessed to push people into the independent shops where they can get a proper fit and a good selection of lenses, creating a win- win situation.

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