Laurie L. Pierce, LDO, ABOM
There is a growing awareness that business strategies used in the fashion industry can be applied successfully to the ophthalmic market. Optical businesses with fashion savvy are gaining momentum in the dispensing arena. The result? Ophthalmic frames have finally been recognized by the fashion world, presenting added opportunities for multiple sales and practice growth.
How we, as optical professionals, present fashion and high-end frames can make or break the economic potential of a dispensary. Being able to communicate the differences between frames—and what makes them special—is crucial for success.
Applying six proven steps can enable you to up your fashion cred and increase your sales of high-end eyewear.
STEP 1: Get into the fashion mindset. It's important to be in tune with current fashion looks and trends outside the optical world in order to visualize transferring those trends to your dispensary. Browse magazines, such as Glamour, Marie Claire, or InStyle, to spot and track the season's "It" colors and styles.
For example, if "tuff Harley" or way-outside-the-box fashions are in vogue in clothing and accessories, the optical transfer would be a "Geek Chic" look—bold, heavy eyewear designs. Adding precious materials, such as wood, chrome, and buffalo horn, help create a partnership between a current fashion trend and luxurious eyewear made of natural materials.
STEP 2: Match fashion looks with frame styles such as "Geek Chic," "Business," "Sporty," and "Weekend Glam."
Geek Chic. This style has two favorite colors—black and brown. Mod Geeks will add a splash of color in an accentuated brow look to modernize this heavy but cool design.
Preppy/Yuppie. This style is easy to accomplish. You likely have many designs that speak to this fashion category—thin metals, rimless, tortoise-shell zyl, and classic round/oval shapes. Different from business wear, the preppy/yuppie group crosses over to the sporty side, so wraps and sporty looking metals with library temples that bow slightly are a great match. Also, this style lends itself to bold colors, especially titanium.
Business. Conservative, yet sharp, there are many variations of the business look. We've broken out of the P-3 tortoise mold and blended bolder looks that also are office-appropriate. For example, if your patient/client is an architect, a round metal frame with a strap bridge is a must.
Sporty. Today's health enthusiasts want a look to match their lifestyle. Task-appropriate eyewear is a must for biking and marathons. Because the Sporty group wants to continue their look, there is an abundance of ophthalmic frames suitable for the rest of their lives.
Weekend Glam. This fashion category makes it fun to be a girl—large aviators, luxurious components in super-big aviator and glitzy wrap styles. Equally in style are Vegas Chic and Jackie O classics. Gents can be glamorous, too, in sporty wraps with leather, buffalo, or chrome. Cool aviator styles will bring them back, as will Blues Brothers and Risky Business looks, or jump them forward to biker-athlete-rock star images. Have fun with this. It will likely be an additional pair.