A large front window display provides a critical marketing opportunity for Visions Extraordinary Eyewear.
Visions Extraordinary Eyewear
With 60 years of experience between them, Meline Baron and Phil Bromwell of Visions Extraordinary Eyewear know a thing or two about attracting clients. Lesson No. 1? Wow them with windows.
THE IDEA: The two, who’ve been a couple for 21 years, started Visionary Opticians 18 years ago, rebranded to Visions Extraordinary Eyewear in 1999, and moved to their current location in downtown Frederick in 2003. With their tony new shop, a former shoe store, came more than 10 feet of glass windows facing the street. Time to get creative! Visions, which only carries one of each frame, prides itself on offering brands from around the world — Studio3 Occhiali, Ptolemy48, Wissing, Roger and Rain City, among others — collections not available at chains, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. “We don’t duplicate or repeat,” says Baron. In addition to an exclusive frame experience, they offer a wide selection of premium lenses from Varilux, Zeiss, Hoya, Seiko, Transitions, and more, with an expedient turnaround time thanks to an in-house lab manned by Bromwell. What’s more, they don’t do advertising or social media; those windows tell their story.
THE EXECUTION: “I change out the large window seasonally, although not necessarily with season-specific themes,” says Baron. “My current large window is focused around primarily four collections. The ‘F’ theme of Flowers, Foliage, Feathers, Fabric.”
Meline Baron is the brain behind her store's window displays.
In fact, her current small spring window uses colorful tissue boxes adorned with cute flowers and birds. These are attached to the wall with push-pins, the frames displayed on top.
Looking back, Baron has her favorite windows. “I painted upholsterer’s springs for my ‘Spring For A New Look!’ window. Also, I’ve used my husband’s ties and ‘guy-centric’ books in my ‘The Guys Have It’ small window display, and colorful flip-flops to display sunglasses,” she explains. “And there’s the time I used bottles of Joy dishwashing liquid for my ‘The Joy of Spex’ window.”
Props are occasionally reused, but in new ways. “Windows always evolve and things wear out, so I am always looking for new things to keep it fresh,” she says.
THE RESULTS: Baron describes her store as “very layered” and says she’s often surprised and tickled when the people she least expects notice stuff and comment. Customers often say they like the feel of the place. “Many visitors and customers comment that they love to come into the shop because there is always something interesting to look at. And the more they like being here, the more likely they are to find something else they want.” It’s a philosophy that works. Vision’s revenue went up 20 percent since moving to this location.
But for Baron and Bromwell, it’s time for a new adventure. The couple is looking to retire and has put Visions up for sale. The good news is that Baron is happy to continue consulting on the windows for the new owners!
Do It Yourself: Attract Passersby With Your Windows
- Look out for new props. “I’m always thinking, ‘This is kind of cool,’” says Baron. “I can be seen in any kind of store taking off my glasses to see if they’ll sit on an object for a display.”
- Pick a color and switch out seasonal props to extend a display’s life. November to February, Baron’s focus is red, using Christmas props until January, then Valentine’s props.
- Think about lighting. Baron even changes the bulbs in the lights in the windows to keep it interesting. And she is constantly stocking up on fairy lights at Home Depot.
- Be organized. Baron rents a storage locker for her materials, and has a “tool box” full of push pins, screw-in hooks, a hammer, and plate racks to prop up signage and posters.
- Use your displays to convert sales. Color themes plus a “Color of the Month” frame discount give Baron “a way of having a sale without seeming like a discounter.”
- And a don’t! Don’t use anything that can melt! “I once had a zyl Traction frame and a Kawasaki frame with a plastic temple-tip fall off their perch and onto a light fixture and melt,” she says.
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 edition of INVISION.
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