If you sell eyewear for an eye care practice or optical shop in Southern California, then there’s an event October 9 that you should not miss: Eyewear After Party. It’s a regional independent eyewear gathering that will bring 42 independent frame lines under one roof, along with complementary food and cocktails. Even better, it’s free to attend!
Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 Time: Noon – 10PM Address: Idle Hour, 4824 Vineland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 91601
Eyewear After Party: A brief history
The event has been gaining in popularity since two previous shows this year in Portland and Sacramento. This one looks to be the biggest one yet, with great lines showing like WOOW, Article One, Thierry Lasry, Andy Wolf, FEB 31st, Garrett Leight, RAEN, Matsuda, and many more.
For those of you not in Southern California, the After Party organizers are planning future events in other cities. A Seattle event is being scheduled for early 2019.
Eyewear After Party Portland
Eyewear After Party Portland
Eyewear After Party Portland
Eyewear After Party Sacramento
Seen at Eyewear After Party Sacramento
The easiest research trip ever
Almost certainly, some of these lines will be new to you. This is an opportunity to check out a wide range of great independent eyewear in person, and in a relaxed atmosphere.
Idle Hour is a historic, barrel-shaped bar and restaurant that they are completely taking over for the event. You may remember the Bulldog Cafe in its courtyard as the set for some scenes in the movie The Rocketeer.
How can I attend?
RSVP at the website below. Each RSVP will get a $50 Lyft code so you don’t have to worry about driving or parking.
We’re just back from Vision Expo West 2018, where we found a great eye accessory we want to share: the SunCover from ANY DI. This could be the perfect merchandise to offer at your front desk.
I mean, is this not the cutest? It’s cuter than a corgi’s butt!
This genius new eye accessory protects your eyeglasses or sunnies and keeps them handy. It comes from a luxury bag maker in Munich, Germany. The “eyes” snap over your lenses, and your temples fold along the back. Then you can hook the SunCover to your belt or purse.
Speaking of purses, if you want one that has its own SunCover incorporated, they’ve got that, too.
The ANY DI SunCover comes in 38 different designs and colors, including leopard, rose gold, camo, pastels, neutrals, primary colors, and traditional leather colors.
All are high-quality cowhide, except for a few options in black made of recycled PET.
This is obviously a luxury item, and is priced accordingly. They retail for €74-84, or about $85-95 US. But we think this is a standout eye accessory that will fly off your shelves despite the price. (I, for one, would buy one in a heartbeat.)
Think about whether SunCovers would appeal to your patients and customers. Then, if they would, contact ANY DI directly.
Want more strategies for bringing eyeglass customers running to your shop? We can help. Take a look at our services. Then contact us for a free social media analysis, and to see how we can help you.
Vision Expo West starts this week, and a lot of people will be following along on Instagram Stories. If you’re attending and want to capture all the excitement, consider using Instagram Stories and some of its new built-in capabilities. These encourage a give-and-take with your audience that you’ll both enjoy.
Instagram Stories: A little background
Instagram Stories are brief snippets of video, photo, or typed content that are available to followers for just 24 hours. They are found in the circles at the top of the Instagram screen, and are offered to you in order of each account’s relevance to you (in other words, you’ll see your best friends and most popular accounts first). Instagram Stories are great for sharing glimpses of live events, because producing them is quick and mobile-friendly.
New to Stories?
My advice: play around with making some Instagram Stories before you head to Expo. That way you’re comfortable with how they work before you try to use them on the loud, busy exhibit floor. There are all kinds of fun things you can do with Boomerang (looping video), Face Filter (bunny ears, anyone?), and Superzoom (zooming in with mood music). To make it fun for your audience too, try them on your kids or pets.
Ready to level up?
Awesome! Here are the new capabilities Instagram has added to Stories that are a ton of fun and will engage your audience.
Ask a question of your audience with the regular Text feature, then offer them two choices in response. It can be Yes/No, or you can change the response text to whatever two answers you desire.
Ask your audience a question, and let them type back an answer. The beauty of this is no one sees the answer but you, so you can share responses selectively.
Share Posts to Stories
Instagram is brilliant in its simplicity, but it’s always irritated me that you can’t share other people’s posts natively like you can on Twitter. While you still can’t share a post right into the post feed, you can share a post to your Stories. This is wonderful, because you can add your commentary, and the original poster gets credited and notified.
Another new feature I really appreciate is that when someone mentions your Instagram handle in their post, you are notified and offered the ability to add it to your Stories in one click. Instagram even adds a background in a coordinating color (though you don’t have the ability to change that color – yet).
Want to get an idea of how your audience feels? Ask them a question, then let them answer with an emoji slider. Not every emoji is available, but most of the basic emotions are covered: mad, sad, happy, on fire, crying laughing, etc. You can have text right above the slider, or not.
Where to find them
You’ll find each of these tools in the Stickers menu of the Instagram Stories creation wizard. Click that, and you’ll get a menu of these tools and many others.
Need more help?
Here are the Stories FAQs straight from Instagram. You’ll find detailed help for these tools and a lot more.
Want expert help for your social media? That’s what we do. Contact us.
Have fun at VEW! And if you’re not going, watch for our Instagram Stories at @socialeyesonyou.
The good that you do shows who you are. If you want to establish a deeper connection with your community, then integrate charitable giving into your business through fundraising. This is called cause marketing, and it gives people another reason to patronize your eye care practice or optical shop.
Here’s the cause I support every year: AIDS Walk & Run San Diego. When my stepbrother contracted the AIDS virus back in the early 90’s, there were minimal services to help with the emotional burden, and medications were ruinously expensive. Those meds were also very hard on the body, and he passed away in 1993. Treatments have improved dramatically since then, but they are still costly – and HIV/AIDS education is always needed. So every year since 1995, I have raised funds and walked the AIDS Walk.
This year’s AIDS Walk is September 29th. I actually have to miss walking it, as I’ll be at Vision Expo West. But I’m still fundraising for it. (Want to donate?)
Find your cause
That’s my cause. What’s yours? If you’re not sure, here are some tips for finding a great charity to support:
Choose a vision charity. This aligns with your profession! And it can be an opportunity to educate the public on eye diseases and how they occur. Not sure which one to choose? Here’s a list of 97 vision charities around the world.
Go local. Remember, as a local business you’re trying to connect with your local community. You can choose a national charity with a local office, a regional organization that benefits your area directly, or even a local school or library. If your region has recently suffered a natural disaster, it’s best to funnel your help through well-established charities like the Red Cross or United Way.
Avoid political causes. Of course, you personally can support any cause you believe in. But if you pair a cause with your business, and a significant portion of your community would not support that cause, you’ve given them reason to not patronize you – and you may even end up with protesters. Politics is always a hot-button issue. Instead, choose a cause that nearly anyone in your area can get behind.
Now share it!
Pair fundraising with an event at your business. You could have a trunk show with a percentage of sales benefiting your charity. Or throw an evening cocktail party with silent auction, proceeds going to the cause.
Take event advice from your charity. They throw a lot of events, and they know what works! They will even likely have some preferred vendors for sound, photography, food, and more.
Share your cause well in advance of the event. People need time to notice and decide to throw in their support. Particularly if the fundraising event is anywhere near the winter holidays, plan for a 2- to 3-month publicity campaign. Don’t forget the marketing in cause marketing! And definitely use social media to share the event.
What cause do you support through your business, and how do you do it?
Have you ever hosted a webinar or Instagram Live, and when you ask if there are any questions, there’s nothing but silence?
Oh, did I just describe every webinar you’ve ever given or attended? My bad.
Webinars can be deadly dull, but they serve a purpose – they’re meant to teach something, or share necessary information. And attendees are obviously interested in the subject, or they wouldn’t be there.
Instagram Live broadcasts are more fun, but can have a similar problem. If your followers tuned in to learn something, technical glitches or just the comments rolling up the screen could have left them remembering little.
But here are tips that can help!
Strengthen your request
Whenever you’re speaking to a live audience, try this technique from Louisiana high school math teacher Andre Sasser:
Give fair warning
I would add this: let your audience know at the beginning of your session that you want a question from them at the end. That will make them listen more actively.
Bribes are okay
Besides that, you might even incent them by saying you’ll send a small gift to the person whose question you like the best. Something small, like a branded notepad. (I’m an absolute sucker for branded notepads. There’s one within 3 feet of me at all times. Need to jot down a note? I got you.)
It’s always about engagement
The point is, their questions and your answers are literally engagement, and that’s what everyone’s going for on social media. It makes for a better experience, even for those who don’t pipe up. It increases the perceived value of what you’re saying. And it feels good to talk to an audience and have them be curious about what you said.
Have you tried this trick, or do you have others? Let us know in the comments below.
Need help hosting your business’s first Instagram Live? Contact us!
Vision Expo West 2018 is right around the corner. You’ve probably already booked your flight and hotel, and now are staring at a very long list of VEW events to choose from.
Fear not! We’ve asked some prominent women in optical to give their advice on which VEW events you shouldn’t miss. Here’s what they had to say:
Autianna Wilson Optical Goddess & optician – San Francisco, CA @goddessofoptix
“I’m interested in seeing THE BLOCK at Vision Expo because I feel it’s important that everyone sees the beauty, uniqueness, and diversity of urban eyewear fashion!”
CMO, Clearlens @clearlenscloth
“VEW is the perfect place to connect with other professionals who share the same passion for eye care health, eyewear fashion, and entrepreneurship. Clearlens Tip: The free champagne kiosks around the VEW floor are the best places to make new friends!”
Jenn Lyerly, OD
Optical blogger & podcaster, Defocus Media @eye.dolatry “I’m very interested in the entire course catalog that Dr. Michael Kling is teaching – from managing cash flow in your business to creating the ultimate customer experience. ‘Private Equity: Should I Stay Or Should I Go‘ with Dr. Kling and Total ECP’s Jay Binkowitz is a major highlight of this conference that I can’t wait to attend!”
Addie Bogart Independent sales rep – Western US @spexxy_addie “Don’t miss the Loft Eyewear Show at the Keeping Memories Alive building designed by Frank Gehry. It’s Thursday and Friday only this year. It’s an incredible privilege to show beautifully designed eyewear in a stunning building. It’s a cab ride from VEW, but it’s worth the trip to get there.”
Owner, Specs Optical – Cupertino, CA @specs_optical “This will be my first year going! But this year we remodeled and relaunched our business, so I’m excited to bring back more fresh ideas. I’m looking to take some CE classes to stay up-to-date, but also potentially meet some new vendors and network.”
Sheena Taff Optician & eyeglass curator @optician.about.town
“Vision Expo is my candy store! I love wandering the show floor and trend-spotting. There is no better opportunity to see Fall/Winter’s most coveted EyeStyle trends. As an Optician I am equally interested in not only eyewear trends but new lens technologies and styles. Many people don’t consider lenses part of eyewear fashion, and I’m excited to see how brands like Transitions Lenses are changing that perception with the launch of new stylish colours and mirrors.”
Amanda Rights, OD
Optometry, eyewear & lifestyle blogger @optomeyeslife
“I’ll be sure to make the OWA Connection Series talk from the author of Earning It. This will be an inspirational opportunity to hear firsthand from Joann Lublin and the advice she gleaned from other strong female leaders and trailblazers. I’m looking forward to learning practical career advice and lessons to incorporate into my own practices, businesses, and life.”
Sara Cecchini Marketing, ZEISS Vision US @zeissvisioncare_usa
“We’ll have some amazing demonstrations in the ZEISS booth at #LP8065, showing the harmful effects UV can have on your eyes, and how UVProtect in all ZEISS lenses is the new standard. But I’m also pretty excited about something we’ll have called the ’15 for 60 Challenge.’ If you spend 15 minutes with us, you can learn how to add 60 minutes of productivity back into your office each and every day.”
Optical marketer, The Social Eye @thepegisinagain
“I really cannot wait to catch a most amazing panel of breakout independent retailers: Julia Gogosha of Gogosha Optique, Selima Salaun of Selima Optique, and Alicia Hartman of Peoples From Barbados. It’s happening Friday at 5PM in the Galleria Lounge, and you best believe I will be wearing these Selima Optique Roxannes.”
What are you looking forward to at VEW? Tell us in the comments below.
When we talk about “retail” in the optical world, we usually mean a dispensary or eye care practice that lives within a Walmart, Shopko, or Sam’s Club. But I recently came across a practice in a most unexpected retail space: a kind of hipster co-op.
Now you may not know what I mean by that term, and I don’t blame you–I just made it up. But how else can I describe this place? It’s one big warehouse building in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood that contains a letterpress card shop, a bowtie boutique, and a straight-razor shave joint, all of which are anchored by a coffee bar and roastery (James Coffee). Though these are individual stores, all the walls inside the building are glass, so the effect is more like open stalls in a market than separate shops.
And right there next to where you sit down to enjoy your honey cinnamon latte is Specs Optometry. Owned by optometrist Dr. Michelle Fitzpatrick (along with another larger location in South Park), this location has managed to display a bunch of independent frame lines in a way that is appealing and uncluttered–all in a space no larger than a living room.
Let me share with you what I think Specs is doing right, and maybe it will spark some ideas for you:
Instead of trying to lure patients to another part of town, or into another address on a popular street, Specs is right there inside the building where they get their daily coffee. Some people work there all day! They can fall in love with that Jacques Marie Mage Dorothy frame just by ogling it daily, and not use up a minute of the optician’s time.
More facetime with frames I love eyeglasses and will spend as much on them as my wallet will allow, but sometimes it feels like I have to jump through too many hoops to even lay eyes on the frames in a dispensary–much less try on. There may be no window to display frames, or standing outdoors to look at them feels awkward. Or the dispensary may not be up front, and I have to run a gauntlet of insurance questions before I can even start trying on. It’s like they don’t want my money! And after a few hurdles, I no longer want to give it to them.
The experience at Specs was definitely different. I tried on so many frames, my heart sang.
And Specs lets you see everything through their glass walls even when they’re not open.That means MOSCOT, Barton Perreira, Andy Wolf, and Garrett Leight frames are winking at potential buyers up close and often. And when they are open, optician Kayla Gray is the soul of patience and respect for the gravity of your fashion choices.
Get a peek at Specs' crafted interior
Optimal lighting, funky rugs, and raw wood walls
Neat, well-lit racks with plenty of storage
Hand-welded display case for featured frames
A peek inside the exam room
Optical customers, whether they know it or not
Handcrafted interior, curated frame lines The shop’s interior is full of handcrafted details–raw wood, welded metal, softly faded rugs–which fits right in with the aesthetic of its neighbor shops, and also matches the curated, handcrafted frame lines it sells.
The doctor is in
Even in this small space, they’ve tucked a little exam room in the back, so there’s no excuse for not getting a current prescription. And if more instruments are needed, such as a fundus camera, they can accommodate that in their other location.
Specs Optometry removes a lot of obstacles to buying that most practices don’t even realize are there. What obstacles can you remove in your shop?
If you’re in San Diego, visit Specs Optometry for yourself at 2355 India Street.
If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably interested in leveling up your business’s digital marketing. If that’s the case, and you’re in or near Southern California, I have an event for you.
There’s a one-day conference happening in LA on November 6 called EyeInnovate 2018, and the speaker list is very impressive. Dr. Tanya Gill is going to be sharing her Instagram secrets, and you should listen, because @oaklandvisioncenter is the model I tell everyone to take pointers from. Dr. Alan Glazier, the creator of the very influential group ODs on Facebook (35K members!), will speak on Facebook changes and what you need to do there for your business.
These are the heavy hitters, folks. If knowledge is power, then these are your friendly neighborhood optical superheroes. And the agenda is packed with even more about SEO, merchandising, YouTube, and consumer trends.
I’ll definitely be there, because while I know a lot about online marketing for optical, things change everyday, and you should never stop learning.
In other words, it’s worth my time, and it’s worth yours.
EyeInnovate 2018 When: Nov. 6, 7:30am – 5:30pm Where: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles Details: eyeinnovate2018.com
If you’ve been posting to Instagram regularly for your business, good for you! Here’s a little side benefit that won’t cost you time or effort. Have your shop’s Instagram photos turned into photo books, and keep them in your waiting area.
There are many services out there that will do this for you, but my favorite is Chatbooks. If you subscribe to their Photo Book Series and connect your business’s Instagram account to it, they will create a 6″ x 6″ photo book for every 60 photos you post. Each book is only $10, and once you set up the subscription, you don’t have to do another thing. Just keep posting, and for every 60 posts, you get a photo book in the mail.
It’s a great way to connect your online and offline worlds, and it could convince your customers to follow you better than one of those “Please follow us” signs.
Chatbooks did not pay me to endorse them–I just really like the service. But if you follow this link, you can get $10 off your first order. (They’ll also treat you to this hilarious video.)
When starting a business, or even just starting social media for your business, there is no one more important to your success than superfans.
Everyone has superfans. Even if it’s your mom, your dad, your cousin, your best friend, your college roommate, your babysitter, or your spouse. Someone you know has seen all that you’ve gone through and wants you to be successful. And they’d help you, if they only knew how.
Here’s an example of a superfan who helped launch what was, among other things, one of the most successful business ventures of all time.
Freda Kelly was a 17-year-old legal secretary who lived in Liverpool. Friends invited her to a lunchtime show at the Cavern Club featuring a local band. She became a huge fan of the band immediately, and caught all their gigs after that. The band was The Beatles, and their manager Brian Epstein eventually hired this familiar face as a secretary to handle their growing stream of fan mail.
This was in 1962, before their first single came out, and at that point The Beatles could have easily become no more than local favorites. But Freda remembers that she and all the girls in Liverpool bought the “Love Me Do” single the week it came out even if they didn’t have a record player because they so passionately wanted The Beatles to have a hit.
Imagine that – buying a product you can’t even use because you believe in the maker so much. That is the mark of a superfan.
Now, we know how very big The Beatles got. Their music changed popular culture, like no band before or since. But if you rewind back from those career heights, before the fame and the movies and the hit records and the stadiums filled with screaming fans, it all started with their local fandom in Liverpool, who were rabid and persuasive.
London was not looking to Liverpool for rock’n roll bands at the time. And America was not looking to England for that, either. But that all changed when The Beatles sparked a musical and cultural movement called The British Invasion.
Without that first tipping point, without those superfans, without those girls ponying up their pin money at Merseyside record shops, the rest may never have happened.
(Freda’s superfandom changed her life as well, in ways you can see in a 2013 documentary called Good Ol’ Freda. She became the president of The Beatles Fan Club from 1962-1972, and witnessed firsthand many of highlights of the band’s career.)
Freda Kelly is the perfect example of the superfan who changes everything just by supporting what she loves. She and those like her are the whisper that started the avalanche.
Who will start your avalanche? Who are your superfans? And how can they spread the word about you?
It’s up to you to show them how. Here are some ideas from Social Media Examiner for helping your superfans help you raise your business’s profile on social media: