The first question one might ask when they see this blog is why? Why now? With so many other important issues in the world, who needs to read about eyewear? Well… Eyewear is what helps most of us (who wear glasses, contacts, sunglasses, etc.) to actually SEE every day. I think that is a pretty good topic for discussion, don’t you?
I have basically grown up in the eyewear industry. My grandfather started what is now B. Robinson Optical and Legacie, the Luxury House of B. Robinson, in 1926. When I was growing up I would occasionally come to work with my dad and my grandfather and “play” in what was then a stock room (now a modern-day warehouse facility). After graduating from college, I was like most 22-year-olds – not exactly sure what I wanted to do – and my dad offered me a job. As everyone else in our industry knows, once you start, it is hard to leave. And now, about 20 years later, here I am starting a blog.
WHY? When I started working in 1992, the internet was just getting started, eyewear was still a traditional medical device, and people went to their doctor to buy frames, sunglasses and/or contacts. Now, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of choices and the consumer is driving ALL business decisions whereas it used to be the retailer (or maybe the manufacturer). This incredible shift is what caused me to start speaking, writing and now – blogging.
My main topic/focus has been on the importance of luxury eyewear and the need for retailers to offer consumers a unique experience (or risk losing that customer to a competing location). As a person who has literally grown up in this industry, I feel I have a unique point of view on our market and the changes we’ve faced and continue to face every day. I have seen the consolidation at all levels. I have seen fear at all levels. And most importantly, I have seen incredible opportunities at all levels. Eyewear used to be a small, insular, medical industry run mainly by family businesses. It is now a multi-billion dollar, international industry, with many Fortune 500 companies, where we sell fashion in addition to medical devices. They do not teach those studying to be eyecare professionals how to deal with these seismic shifts in our industry; many ECP’s and retailers today do not have all the tools necessary to compete in an ever-changing, fast-paced economy.
I started to talk about this in lectures and then wrote some Continuing Education classes… And after giving the lectures and classes, we started to joke about opening a consulting division – except in the drafts, I misspelled consulting as “counsulting” and that is when it hit me. I want to be able to offer my counsel and consult as a way to give back to the industry that has given me and my family so much over the past 85 years. I felt it was time to offer something more approachable and make it available to anyone with an internet connection. So… welcome to my BLOG!
I hope it will be informative and I also hope it will always be FUN. Thanks for reading and please make this a two-way street. I LOVE comments and dialogue.