5 ways to dispense luxury frames

Dispensing high-end eyeglass frames is not as difficult as it may seem.

My first experience in dispensing high-end frames was as a new opticianry school graduate and young licensed optician back in the mid 1980s. The location was Classic Eyewear, an upscale optical dispensary in Portland, ME. The owner of this optical boutique, Wolfgang Liese, was a master at presenting, displaying, and dispensing high-end frames.

Later, when I managed an upmarket optical boutique, Lugene Opticians, in downtown Boston, I learned my way around dispensing high-end frames. Many of the frames we stocked sold for $6,000 to $7,000 per pair.

Then and now

The frames du jour back in the day were buffalo horn, Polaris, Gold & Wood, and Cartier. The frame styles were very large and required optical skills combined with cosmetic fashion savvy. At that time, it also was fashionable to custom-wrap frames in leather and snakeskin.

Today's high-end frames are in line with leading-edge fashions. They can be very bold or lightweight with "disappear on your face" rimless mounts. Both extremes are in fashion today, which is great news for all of us.

The popularity of large logos on the temples of eyewear is being overtaken by materials such as precious metals, bone, wood, gold, and naturally beautiful materials that stand on their own. This has been the trend in Europe for some time, and seems to be catching on in America.

Let me pass along some of the secrets I've learned about successfully dispensing luxury eyewear. These five basic tips can help you gain confidence in offering high-end frames. The more you use them, the more comfortable-and effective-you will become.