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Kathy Maren: Everybody’s Style Begins With Their Eyewear




Kathy Maren of Combs Eyecare & Eyewear

Kathy Maren

Combs Eyecare & Eyewear, Western Springs, IL

When she took her new job, Kathy Maren’s local newspaper did a profile of her with the headline “Optician works to find customers the perfect pair of specs.” The article (read it at noted how Maren buys clothes based on whether they go with her eyeglasses. It was then we knew we had to hear more about this talented optical pro who has been in the business since she was 16 — and at Combs EyeCare and EyeWear for the past 2-1/2 years.


This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of INVISION.

I own 33 pairs of glasses, including 26 ophthalmic and seven sunglasses. I choose the “frame of the day” based on what I’m wearing.

My favorite is a pair of sunglasses by Sasura. They have Pandora charms in the temples that are interchangeable. I also love my Silhouette wedding glasses for dress-up and my purple cat eyes by FYSH.

I remarried three years ago. Silhouette has a line of beautiful drill mounts with jewels and inlays on the temples. They gave me a pair that had crystal inlays and was both silver and gold. Just stunning. I have helped numerous mother-of-the-brides pick out their glasses. (Most brides want to wear contacts on their big day.)

I always say to patients that they don’t wear only one pair of shoes. Why would you wear only one pair of glasses? Once I tell them how many I have, they get that it is OK to purchase more than one.


I never have a bad day at work. I love my job.

The article in the paper did bring in new customers, and they would always ask for the “lady with all the glasses.” The newspaper came to me after Dr. Combs put an article announcing my coming to her office in the business association newsletter.

I have a rep case that holds 15 pairs of glasses. When I travel with it in my suitcase, I always find a form that says my luggage has been inspected. I’m sure the TSA has no idea what it is!

My maiden name is Cavalli, so I always refer to the designer as “Uncle Roberto.”

My all-time best sale was when a woman purchased eight pairs at one time. She loved everything I showed her. She came back three days later and bought three more pairs.

There was a couple who I have been working with for many years. When I left my former employer, they came in for their eye exam and found out I was no longer there. The doctor told them where I was — we were good friends — and the patients found my phone number, called me at home and said they would wait until my starting date to get their glasses. They came in my second day — in a blizzard — and they were my first patients at Combs!


My advice to a new optician would be love what you do, love people, and make them feel that this is the most fun they are going to have all day … and they’ll look awesome in the process. Then you will be truly successful.



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