Your most visible accessory

December 15, 2007

During the past 10 years, almost every major designer has gotten into this high-margin, high-exposure category. Consumers have responded favorably, happy to own a piece of their favorite brands. Since most ready-to-wear is not outwardly brand-identified, if the shopper wants to make a brand statement, the outward logo on an accessory is a logical way to show off. It makes perfect sense that the brand trend should extend strongly into the world of prescription eyewear.

Key Points

As president of the Accessories Council, I pride myself on having stylish accessories. They may not always be the most expensive, but I look for something special, something unique.

It seems, however, that I had ignored what was perhaps my most visible accessory-my eyewear. That epiphany sparked my quest to find the perfect pair of new eyeglasses.

The exciting frame choices at Vision Expo made me feel like a kid in a candy store. I couldn't wait to get back home and choose my ideal frames. Maybe I would even splurge and get a few pairs.

Sadly, though, the selection at my local optical dispensary was limited and boring. I left empty-handed and disappointed. I checked out another optical shop, but left with the same let-down feeling. Both shops had styles similar to what I already owned, and lacked the brand and style choices I had seen at Vision Expo.

The power of branding

In the world of accessories, "branded" products have been some of the industry's brightest stars-luxury handbags, logo shoes, bold fobs on jewelry, and signature patterns have been influencing consumers and driving sales. During the past 10 years, almost every major designer has gotten into this high-margin, high-exposure category. Consumers have responded favorably, happy to own a piece of their favorite brands.

It makes perfect sense that the brand trend should extend strongly into the world of prescription eyewear. We know that brand is an important factor in buying sunglasses. Data supplied by the NPD Group, a provider of consumer and retail market research information, estimates that for the 9 months ending September 2007, 77% of sunglasses sold featured a brand logo.