Optical women give their event picks for VEW 2018

Optical women give their event picks for VEW 2018

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

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!”

Alana Whitaker

Alana Whitaker
California sales rep – WOOW Eyewear
@californiaglassesgirl
“I’m looking forward to the Optical Women’s Association Annual Networking Reception & Raffle on Friday night. OWA is important because it promotes support among women in all facets of the optical industry. I love going and meeting other ambitious young women in optical, and successful women in our industry that I can learn from.”

Christina Kim

Christina Kim
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!”

Dr. Jenn Lyerly

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

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.”

Esther Chang

Esther Chang
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

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.”

Dr. Amanda Rights

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

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.”

Peggy Gartin

Peggy Gartin
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.

Specs Optometry: There’s an eye doctor WHERE?!

Specs Optometry - Little Italy

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.

Exterior of James Coffee
I see coffee, but I was promised eyewear

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.

Interior of James Coffee
Wait, they have WHAT in here?

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.

Specs Optometry
Specs Optometry & Eyewear, Little Italy

Let me share with you what I think Specs is doing right, and maybe it will spark some ideas for you:

Interior of James Coffee
She looks like she could use some computer glasses. Just sayin’.

Hot location
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.

Specs Optometry interior
Have a seat, try on some frames

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.

  • Specs Optometry window
    Get a peek at Specs' crafted interior
  • Specs Optometry interior
    Optimal lighting, funky rugs, and raw wood walls
  • Specs Optometry racks
    Neat, well-lit racks with plenty of storage
  • Specs Optometry display case
    Hand-welded display case for featured frames
  • Exam room
    Exam room
  • Specs Optometry exam room
    A peek inside the exam room
  • Specs Optometry building
    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 dr. is in
…and she’s not Lucy from Peanuts.

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.

Come meet us at EyeInnovate 2018!

EyeInnovate 2018

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.

EyeInnovate 2018

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

Register here. Still not sure? Enter their contest to win a trip to LA and two tickets to the conference.

EyeInnovate 2018 - enter to win!

Got 30 seconds? Make easy photo albums for your waiting area

Examples of Chatbooks

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.)

Superfans are critical to your business (even if you’re not The Beatles)

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:

How to Turn Fans Into Brand Champions