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Check Out These Unforgettable Lens Cloths

These 7 practices know how to keep their branding firmly in their customers’ hands.

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A CREATIVE CLEANING CLOTH is an amazing way to keep your business’ branding in customers’ hands on the daily. Think of it as positive reinforcement: A cloth with a little humor or a striking image brings your practice to mind every time your patients engage in that most satisfying of experiences — cleaning their glasses. Whether you bundle them in a parting package, dangle them as freebies on social media, sell them as gifts, or all of the above, these highly practical little ads for your business follow glasses owners wherever they go. Here are a handful of optical retailers going the extra mile with their lens cloths.

Urban Optics cleaning cloth

Urban Optics
San Luis Obispo, CA

We’re not totally sure what eyewear he’s rocking there — but don’t let the “Road Warrior” vibe fool you. Dr. Dave Schultz, owner of Urban Optics, is a pretty laidback guy; he hands out free cinnamon rolls to patients, hangs vinyl in his optical above a vintage record player, and likes to remind anyone who’ll listen that “Life’s too short for long pants!” But if the doctor’s friendly service and designer eyewear don’t have patients returning, maybe they’ll be back for his one-of-a-kind lens cloths. And he’s got more where this one came from. The folks at Urban Optics tell us “unusual photos of Dr. Dave” grace a number of lens cloths, along with other branded materials.

Optical Oasis cleaning cloth

Optical Oasis
Jupiter, FL

“I remember when I finally purchased my cleaning cloths … I was so excited!” recalls Optical Oasis owner Julie Uram. “It’s one of those stepping stones of having a business that you’re just thrilled that it came out that way; sort of like when my name was put on the front door or on the marquee. It’s just a super good feeling. The cleaning cloths are right up there with that.” And for an optical whose floor is literally covered in sand, we’d say they’re keeping in theme, too.

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McCulley Optix Gallery cleaning cloth

McCulley Optix Gallery
Fargo, ND

McCulley Optix Gallery used the COVID shutdown to work on a rebrand. As part of the new look, office manager Jenna Gilbertson came up with an idea for new cloths and Clearlens made it a reality. “They are great to work with. They also made up 1-oz lens cleaner for us with the same branding. We wanted a more lux look, and felt the simple marble background with the big black logo did it. Plus, we wanted them to be neutral, since our old highly colored cloths — red, not from Clearlens — bled on peoples’ cases and frames.” The cloths are free, doubling as “great, easy advertising” and forming part of a gift bag for every patient who buys glasses. “We also use them in our dispensing trays to add our brand one more place,” says Gilbertson.

Eye Love Olympia cleaning cloth

Eye Love Olympia
Olympia, WA

“Intentionality in marketing,” says Dr. Samantha Hamblet, owner of Eye Love Olympia, is one area where many ODs miss the mark. It’s not a claim anyone’s likely to make about Eye Love, whose bold, fun branding begins with a striking logo — a black-and-white iris around a heart-shaped pupil. It features in Eye Love’s lens cloth homage to ’80s screen classic The Karate Kid, in which Mr. Miyagi instructs glasses wearers with his iconic mantra: “Wipe on, wife off.” (It also uncannily echoes the headband worn by the late, great Pat Morita.) The cloth is one of a series Hamblet based on pop culture icons. “With my cloths, I love to have a little fun. People don’t expect it and like to see the goofy things we do. I design them on Canva and then have them printed. It’s a fun pastime to come up with a celebrity mashup.”

SOMA Optical cleaning cloth

SOMA Optical
Boston, MA

At SOMA Optical, which he co-owns with his wife Alissa, Christos Karabelas handles all the graphic design himself. The store’s very cool lens cloths offer a standout example of his talents, which include photography and frame manufacturing. “Some of it’s stuff that I designed for other projects that got passed over but always liked. Some stuff is a result of a day off doodling and making collages. I like to play with psychedelic imagery; there’s something fun about twisting the concept of vision away from the literal interpretation usually associated with optical and viewing it through the lens of psychedelia… I like to keep things light and playful, so I shy away from the serious stuff,” he says. As for inspiration, Karabelas picks it up from all over the place. “I like a lot of older stuff. I like texture. I like minimalism. Anything from the ’70s but cleaned up and modernized.”

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Myoptic Optometry cleaning cloth

Myoptic Optometry
Portland, OR

Myoptic Optometry got local artist Beth Kerschen to create a cityscape incorporating some of Portland’s iconic locales and characters, including the Unipiper — you can even check out a video of the Unipiper himself using the cloth here: invisionmag.com/092101). Myoptic hands out its cloths — be sure to check out their “O.D. gangsta” offering and their AC/DC shoutout — for free at its three locations in the city and uses its highly entertaining social media accounts to urge folks to stop by and pick one up.

The Eyeglass Lass cleaning cloth

Top left: the “pets” cloths were done by artist Lauren Caldwell, a local client. Top right: a popular cloth by graphic designer Sara M. Lyons. Bottom: a cloth byJennifer Bouron, a French artist, Burns found on IG.

The Eyeglass Lass
Mystic, CT

The Eyeglass Lass owner Siobhan Burns finds lens cloths are a great way to support local or favorite artists. Graphic designer Sara M. Lyons came up with the “Golly Jeepers” illustration years ago when Burns was opening her first location in New London. “Sara [is] definitely my go-to. My shop is known for being a bit funky, so the imagery she came up with was perfect! People still ask me for those!” Burns mostly gives away her cloths unless people are stocking up for gifts and want a bunch. When mask mandates came in, she bulked up on cloths to include with anti-fog balm kits. For her next batch, she’s planning to celebrate local landmarks. “I’ve used Optical Source Unlimited — yay for another woman-owned business in my state!” Pricing is $1.10-$1.35 a cloth for 1,000-plus, depending on color, double sided, etc.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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