As opticians for more than 20 years, we’ve talked about opening our own shop many times, from drawing sketches of the layout to dreaming about the frame lines we’d carry. Of course, as the optical industry has evolved, so have our ideas and ideals. But knowing what we do now, and aware of the fast-paced and online options our customers have to choose from, we’d know it is more important than ever to offer a highly personal experience.
So here’s what would take priority if we opened Bogart Optique today:
Customer service has always been our No. 1 priority. It seems to be a lost art. Getting our customers whatever they want would be our ultimate goal.
We’d tailor our frame lines to our chosen location and our clientele’s demographics, with a focus on unique lines that aren’t represented in our area. We would constantly be searching for new and exciting frames.
We would invest in an in-house finishing lab so that we could offer timely delivery and a personalized touch.
We would refuse to compromise on the lenses we provide. We can put you in any frame, but can only get your best vision with the best lenses and technology. You wouldn’t put retreaded tires on a new Ferrari, would you?
Our storefront would be designed as a huge pair of cat’s-eye frames. The lenses of the frame would be the clear glass doors and display windows. As they enter, customers would see an energetic black-and-white theme and plenty of lighting to highlight the frames and make colors pop.
To the left, an inviting sitting area would beckon with semicircle crushed velvet, overstuffed couches and a fully automated coffee and latte machine. Our customers would surely come to visit us for the featured coffee and pastries of the week, as well as check for new frame arrivals.
To the right, a long rectangular working table would offer enough room for us to help several people at once — and to encourage an eyewear buying and sharing event among customers. Frames would be displayed in a very minimal way, with most tucked away in glass-topped dispensing cabinets. We’d fit our customers with frames that not only help them accomplish their daily tasks but complement their personality. We’d create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable, uncluttered by lots of point-of-purchase materials.
It may turn out that we wouldn’t be the shop to serve every customer. But with our quality approach, Bogart Optique customers would know who they are as soon as they found us. They’d visit us often — and they’d find it hard to leave without a new pair of glasses.
Addie Bogart is the Southern California rep for Ogi Eyewear. Her brother Shaun Bogart is business development consultant for Collard Rose, an independent optical lab in Whittier, CA. They are the first generation of their family to be in the optical business.