Hello to all my friends at #dailyotician! It has been a long time since I have posted and I do apologize for not keeping up. In the past few months my sister and I have taken ownership of our Toronto location and have been focusing on building our business together. Keeping in mind the location has been here for over 30 years and we have been running it for many years. In any case, when you become an owner of your own independent optical store it seems there is less time to write! I have not lost my passion for social media and the international optical community. In my quest for the latest information on frames, lenses, marketing and all things optical I have come across many fantastic forms on Facebook and other sources that are engaging and dare I say...helpful. What I have learned is that fellow independent opticians are very proud of their profession and the products the choose to sell. They are very supportive of each other in many ways including their struggle against BO. BO is short for Big Optical (and you know who they are), which I have recently learned. This is something we all have in common and are very passionate about carving out and maintaining the future success of the independent dispensary.
Recently, I was part of a discussion about Raybans. Independent opticians are passionate about not carrying BO products. They strive to differentiate themselves by carrying independent brands. That is what we have been doing forever and maybe it has been part of our success. Going from store to store with a style number looking for the cheapest price is not a game I like to play and avoid it like the plague. The controversy I mentioned was whether to sell Raybans or not. There are definitely two camps. There are those who absolutely refuse to sell it because it supports Big Optical and under no conditions will support it by selling their products. There is also a group who feel it is necessary to sell it even though they know they shouldn't because it supports BO ie/ the competition. Rayban is for sure a staple in the industry regardless of who has owned the line. It seems not to be replaceable by anything else. The marketing is outstanding because, of course, BO has the dollars. When someone comes in and asks you for Raybans every day and is ready to buy what does a business person do? Not stock them and have the person walk out no matter how you try to convince them that "X" brand is superior in quality and style etc....??? OR do you carry a few of the most important pieces so that you can either make a sale and over time help them make different choices in their eyewear. I have to admit that I am not as strong as some. We do sell Raybans and that is the only brand we sell from BO. Our sales rep understands the problem independents have with carrying the line and is very supportive by making it possible to carry just a few pieces. He says we are for sure his smallest account but his favourite ;) The relationship with your reps is so important but that's another story. Other optical brands from BO seem easily replaced and not an issue when it comes to closing a sale. But Raybans somehow are different....and I have huge respect for those independents who refuse to sell it under any conditions but in today's competitive environment. Independent bricks and mortar stores are doing whatever it takes to stay in business while continuing to provide clients the outstanding service and quality they have come to expect.
Do you cut off your nose to spite your face or do you swallow your pride and give the people what they want?? Only you can decide....
How do you feel about Raybans? Do you carry them?
Would love to hear your thoughts!