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Editor's Note

Some Things Are Just Meant to Be

Even when they didn’t work out as planned.

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INVISION editor-in-chief Dee Carroll has loved eyewear since she was young. She’s seen here with her father in Washington DC in 1984.

I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU all got started in the optical industry but I sort of fell into it. Looking back though, I wonder if it was supposed to happen.

I was always a creative kid but I grew up thinking adults got jobs like teacher, lawyer or businessman (not that I knew what businessmen did). So, I decided to be a doctor at 11. I excelled at science and became a candy striper at my local hospital in high school. I vetted the colleges I applied to for their biology and pre-med programs and went to the one with the best reputation that gave me the most money…. And then my first semester, I failed calculus.

It wasn’t just because I hated math; but also, because it was at 8 a.m. twice a week. That first semester I was a little too “Woo Hoo College!” to drag myself to something as boring as calculus that early with enough regularity to have a passing chance. After that semester, I figured if you needed calculus to be a doctor, maybe I shouldn’t be a doctor.

I switched majors, hustled, and managed to graduate in four years despite that extremely lackluster semester. But as graduation approached, I was adrift. I didn’t want to be a businessperson or go to grad school — the only real options, I thought, for a girl with an average GPA and a B.A. from a liberal arts college. After a little research, I decided to move to NYC, go to fashion school, and get another degree in retail buying. I loved to shop and getting a job shopping for stores and not just myself sounded like heaven.

It turns out retail buyer is just a sexy name for businessperson. Most never leave their office and use spreadsheets to analyze what sold well last season just to buy it again in different colors. Yawn.

But fashion school did introduce me to a job I had never considered … fashion editor. I started working in magazines before I even graduated and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Today, I get to blend my interest in medicine, my passion for fashion, and my love of magazines to help you guys be better businesspeople. See? Meant to be.

Beginnings are funny like that. Unlike the ECP businesses we highlight in our Big Story on page 40, the start of my career wasn’t as deliberate as intended, but for all of us it happened exactly the way it needed to. And looking back, could it really have been any other way?

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

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Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Think graphic designers are overrated? Are you more DIY? Then these three apps are right up your alley. (Monthly Project, page 22)
2. Do we have a book for you. Imagine Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time … but for eyes. (EyeProGear, page 36)
3. Are fancy certifications or expensive equipment needed to bring in more kids? Well, that depends. (Special Feature, page 52)
4. Proceed like exceptions are the rule and never be surprised again. (Intelligence Cover, page 55)
5. Looking for ways to boost your memory, comprehension or retention? Grab a tennis ball. (Tip Sheet, page 57)

Having built a career in service journalism, Dee has been covering the eyecare industry for over a decade. As editor-in-chief of INVISION Magazine, she is passionate about telling independent ECPs stories and can be reached directly at dee@invisionmag.com.

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Editor's Note

Such is Life, It Slows Down for No One

Luckily we provide a few hacks to make managing your business a little easier. We can all use all the help we can get.

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DOES ANYONE ELSE feel like they were woefully unprepared for this year? We’re three months in and I still don’t feel like I’ve caught up.

The new year comes around the same time every year … We know it’s on its way … It never just jumps out of nowhere to surprise us and yet, everyone seems to be scrambling to get where they should be by this time of year.

It makes me wonder if we’ve become so accustomed to instant gratification — Amazon Prime Now, news as it happens, binging an entire season of a show in one sitting, gel manicures — that planning for things in the not-so-distant future has taken a hit.

If you’re looking for some shortcuts to get back up to speed and even ahead of the game, check out our VEE Buying Guide starting on page 40. We’ve cut through all the noise for the most exciting products you should be seeking out. Our usual product features, starting on page 19, are pretty spectacular too. All in all, there are nearly 100 products in this issue for you to digest. No need to frantically lap the show floor trying to ferret it all out. We’ve taken the work out of it for you.

It’s a good thing too, because there is nothing like business travel to throw a wrench in your routine. I’ve done a lot of travel in the first couple months of the year and while I love all the time I’ve gotten to spend with many of you on the road, it has definitely been a blow to my self care. Dr. Danielle Richardson to the rescue with her most recent column (page 74), with tips to tend to your wellness while traveling to Expo, or anywhere really.

As much as we all sometimes would like life to just slow down a little so we can catch our breath, that isn’t an option. Hopefully, this issue of INVISION (and every issue for that matter) provides you a few hacks to make managing your business a little easier. Lord knows, we can all use all the help we can get.

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Demonstrating lens options can be difficult; luckily there are a slew of new apps to help. (Better Vision, page 34)
2. You and your staff should be in pictures. We’ve got some tips on how to make that happen. (Monthly Project, page 20)
3. Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold and you could be cashing in. (Special Feature, page 56)
4. The inexpensive way to build product excitement right as customers walk in the door. (Tip Sheet, page 66)
5. Amazon Eyewear? Could happen… Prepare youself. (Columns, page 72)

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Editor's Note

My Name is Dee Carroll … and I Am a Pinner

But in 2019 I am ditching resolutions for goals and making my dream board my reality.

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I’M ONE of those Pinterest people. You know the ones … We pin food we want to make, crafts we want to try, decor we wish we had, and worst of all, inspirational quotes. I would make fun of people like me, if I wasn’t one.

But there’s something to be said for having stuff to aspire to. I’ve started looking at the things I pin with less envy and more of a burning desire to accomplish more. To make my virtual dream board my reality.

This time of year the word “resolutions” gets kicked around a lot to discuss the things we’d like to achieve in the new year. But the running joke of course is that we never stick to our resolutions. So, I’m kicking the concept of resolutions out and making goals instead. After all, a resolution is just a synonym for something you’d like to do but probably won’t. A goal has a much more positive connotation and I am nothing if not a connoisseur of semantics.

To accomplish my goals, and move my real life closer to my Pinterest life, I’m relying on that not-so-old adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” That’s why I love this issue’s Big Story on Contrarian Rules of Business. Sometimes you have to break out of your rut and throw conventional wisdom out. Sometimes you just have to be contrary.

That is certainly what the 10 practices profiled in the Special Feature did. When traditional managed care plans weren’t working for them or all their patients, they came up with alternatives. No two are the same, but they have one thing in common: they have captured patients the business may have lost and turned them into repeat customers. A lofty goal many of you aspire to, no doubt.

Just like my secret wedding Pinterest board, I am not going to share my 2019 goals with you, but I do hope you adjust your thinking on what you want to accomplish in the new year. Ditch the resolutions and set some goals. Make them quantifiable, set deadlines, and hold yourself accountable. I’ll check back in with you in December to see how we all did. Until then …

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Presbyopes could be the greatest opportunity for growth in daily disposables. (Better Vision, page 24)
2. Are you asking your reps for year-end sales figures to benchmark your own turns against other retailers? You should be. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
3. Don’t promise excellent customer service, be an underachiever, and think small. Sometimes doing what seems counterintuitive is the best thing for your business. (The Big Story, page 28)
4. Talk till you’re blue in the face … then keep going. (Tip Sheet, page 45)
5. Beer goggles can be great for business. (Columns, page 47)

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Editor's Note

I Remember My First Time… Do You?

Looking back to the first time.

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I remember the first time I saw INVISION — Vision Expo West, 2013. It was my ninth VEW with another trade magazine and an industry friend showed it to me. He said, “Have you seen this? It looks really good. You should see if they need an editor.”

I heard the grumblings … “Who are these people?” “They’re crazy if they think they can launch another magazine in this industry!” “They didn’t even spell ophthalmologist correctly.” (To be fair, that first H is tricky.)

But it did look good, and it did need an editor. So I emailed David Squires, INVISION’s editorial director, and my current boss, and told him it was great but he needed an editor who knew the industry. Bold move to be sure, but he wrote back! He’d hired someone three days earlier. Bummer.

I followed INVISION’s progress and appreciated how it surprised the naysayers. (Still does.) Two years later, David wrote again. The editor was leaving—was I still interested? Of course! Three weeks later, I was the new editor-in-chief of INVISION magazine.

I could not be happier to be celebrating five years of this incredible magazine! In fact, I’m so happy, we dedicated the entire Big Story to the idea of joy in the workplace and how important being happy is to finding success in what you do (page 36).

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Speaking of what you do … you know what you do … And I know … But there are probably a lot of people you encounter day-to-day who don’t really get it. So, in Long Story Short (page 44), readers share their ECP elevator pitch; a couple of sentences that explain to a stranger what they do. Read ’em over … I’m sure no one will mind if you steal an idea or two.

I know my pitch: “I run the best magazine for independent eyecare businesses in the U.S. It’s called INVISION. You should check it out.”

Do you remember your first INVISION experience? I’d love to hear it. Drop me a line at dee@invisionmag.com and tell me the story of the first time you saw the magazine. Until then…

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Great marketing doesn’t just happen, it needs to be planned. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
2. Looking for a way to make your best customers feel “ecstatic” that takes less than 5 minutes? (Intelligence Cover, page 49)
3. Health insurance for you and your small team is NOT a fiscal impossibility. Learn more. (Columns, page 54)
4. Personality conflict on staff? Here’s how you should handle yourself. (Ask INVISION, page 56)
5. Full-length dispensary mirrors give customers a complete picture of themselves in their new frames. (America’s Finest, page 68)

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