SILVER LINING OPTICIANS NEW YORK, NY

BY JAMES RITCHIE

WEBSITE: silverliningopticians.com OPENED : 2007 | AREA: 700 square feet  | EMPLOYEES: 3 | TOP BRANDS: Barton Perreira, la Eyeworks, Masunaga, Garrett Leight, Bruno Chaussingnand | FACEBOOK: facebook.com/silverliningopticians

Jordan Silver and Erik Sacher chose their location in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan knowing it was within a mile of 10 other optical shops. The owners of Silver Lining Opticians clearly aren’t afraid of competition. They know they’re offering something no competitor has: their own aesthetic.

“Selling only items we love may lose us some sales in terms of trendy brands, but it will only help our reputation,” Silver says.

Silver and Sacher, who’s a licensed optician, don’t expect customers to be familiar with the names they carry. They strive to offer a variety of vintage and contemporary frames, many of them moderately priced. “It gives us great pleasure to teach people how to appreciate quality craftsmanship and come away with an accessory they’re excited to wear,” Silver says.

Since opening in 2007, Silver and Sacher have filled their space with unique touches, such as a vintage pool table, a lion statue and numerous images of famous people in glasses. The eclectic decorations add a masculine air to the store and show that the owners are well-versed in the styles of many eras.

Judge Robert Bell was impressed by the “great retro and professional feel” of Silver Lining’s interior.

It’s clear, he says, that Silver and Sacher “understand their market extremely well, understand that they can’t sell everyone (nor should they attempt to) and realize it would be a complete waste of time — their time and the consumer’s time” — to try.

Jordan says he and Sacher strive for quality in every aspect of their work, from frames and lenses to window displays. “Someone once told me that I’d remember the quality of the suit I was buying long after I’d forget the price,” he says. “I view this quote as how to run our business.”

 



Silver Lining doesn’t carry frames with spring hinges, fake rivets or “anything else we don’t like or believe in,” Silver says.

2  The store sells its own designs. Silver says the initial collection of seven styles has been well received, and “we intend to begin wholesale.” The frames are named for elements: Beryllium, Calcium, Carbon, Chlorine, Hydrogen, Phosphorous and Sulphur. (If the periodic table is any indication, there’s plenty of room for expansion.)

Silver Lining is venturing into e-commerce. You can order items from the store’s own collection, along with “sundries” such as cases, right from its website. 

The website clearly lays out the nine “commandments” by which Silver Lining operates. Rule No. 1: “Honesty is the only policy. We’ll tell you what we think looks good (and bad).” For a hint of what that might be, see Rule No. 7: “Plastic frames give a more youthful appearance than metal or rimless.”

Silver Lining’s fans include many well-known names. One post on the store’s website journal section shows Adam Levine of Maroon 5  in frames from the shop’s vintage collection at the premiere of his film Begin Again at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Another post notes how Bill Gates has purchased the shop’s own Carbon frame  in every available color. Jay-Z is pictured, too — with a note that seeing him at the past two presidential inauguration ceremonies wearing vintage frames from Silver Lining “is really the ultimate sighting for us.”

FINE  POINT

Before starting Silver Lining, Silver was “collecting vintage sunglasses and not knowing where I was going in life.” He started his eyewear collection more than 10 years ago while studying architecture in Paris. He’s since provided vintage pieces to many exclusive boutiques and collectors, including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Lane Crawford, Jeffrey New York and Opening Ceremony.

OUR JUDGES SAY

This place is cool! I particularly like the eclectic feel and the brick walls. — Rebecca Johnson

Love the name ... and I would enjoy working here 12 hours a day as well. — Bob Hillman

True to what they believe ... it’s obvious and admirable. I bet your customers love it. — Howard Purcell

AMERICA'S FINEST 2014

1st Place Eyes on Fremont / 2nd Place Silver Lining Opticians / 3rd Place Modern Eye

Fine-alists Eye Gallery / Eye Impact / Georgetown Optician / Look + See Eye Care / Modern Eyes / Providence Optical / Sight Optical

Explore more of “America’s Finest” eyecare businesses in each and every issue of INVISION.

 
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