My proposed optical shop would effortlessly blend my two disciplines and passions — Old World craftsmanship and the most up to date technology available. My idea would be to connect the dots of similarity between my jewelry shop and my optical.
I excel as an exquisite, high end and top quality jewelry designer. My customers would expect nothing less from my optical shop, so I would intend to deal directly with them, the customers, to give them wearable and functional eyewear on which they would constantly receive compliments. It’s not vanity. My customers are delighted to receive daily compliments on the jewelry pieces we create together. When they tell their friends about my shop, I am delighted as well. This, too, would be the goal of my optical — work as hard as possible to provide my customers with the kind of perfect, unique products and services that ensure they become living advertisements for my shop.
How would I accomplish this? It’s not just by having an inviting shop with the right products. It’s by dealing directly with the customer, treating them like gold, and guaranteeing not simply satisfaction, but joy. You don’t talk a customer into buying a product. You become part of the process. You are an important factor in the development of their look, of introducing them to eyewear that they will wear daily with deep pride.
My storefront and signage would be minimal and elegant, taking cues from my classic training in Geneva. You’d know just by looking at the exterior that this is an optical shop. But you’ve never seen one quite like this. I am very aware of my environment and get inspiration from all kinds of directions. Nature, buildings, cars, you name it. If it is pretty, I register it. Everything about my optical — from the exterior to the interior to the soap and fixtures in the restroom — would flow from this philosophy.
Once the customer enters I’d greet them immediately. A customer would know right away that he or she is the most important person in my world at that moment. I’d briefly give them my background before asking, sincerely, about themselves. What do they think is beauty? Is there a look they’ve always wanted to try but never thought they could pull off? Do they have any hesitation or concern about the eyewear experience? When was the last time someone said: “Hey, I like your glasses?”
“Customers walk in looking for just the right thing and I work with them until they find it. That’s beyond satisfaction. That’s joy.”
From the reception to the exam to the selection of frames, the full knowledge of our initial meeting and the customer’s personality and needs will be at the forefront of their experience. Once we reach the optical, it’s time to employ my knowledge of pairing jewelry with the right person, except with frames. Most customers want to fall in love with what they wear. Sometimes it’s love at first sight. Sometimes it takes patience and guidance to find true love. When the choices have been made, I would photograph the customer with the frame of their choice. Not only would those images pop up on a wall of LCD screens in glorious high definition so they can literally see the differences and make the right choice, but I would also offer them the option of live streaming the feed to Facebook — on their page, my page, or both — to get immediate feedback from real people.
This is how I see my optical shop. Customers walk in looking for just the right thing and I work with them until they find it. That’s beyond satisfaction. That’s joy.
Klaus Kutter, the owner of A Jour Jewelry in Bristol, RI, is the 2016 recipient of the First Place Award for Professional Excellence from the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA). He combines old world training with bleeding edge technology at his Rhode Island shop.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of INVISION.