Nouveau brings the same flirtatious edge of its Kay Unger collection into Phoebe Couture (Style No. PC227 shown here).

It’s a good idea to evaluate your designer brand portfolio periodically and make changes as necessary.

Winter is winding down, spring is just around the corner, and International Vision Expo East is next month. That means that eyewear manufacturers are prepping their new spring 2011 collections for debut at the show.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Expo or not, it’s a good business practice to evaluate your inventory and buying goals regularly to see if they still work for you. Part of that evaluation is to review the collections you offer and determine if they fit well into your designer brand portfolio.

Your eyewear portfolio does more to represent you to your patients than almost any other aspect of your office. It is what they can relate to and the retail purchasing process that is comfortable and familiar to them.

Viva’s GUESS eyewear brings adult fashion-forward trends to tweens with a fun, individualistic approach to style (Style No.
GU 9047 shown here).

Offering quality designer brands for all of your patients’ requirements in a wide variety of price points will represent value and selection, and let them know you are in tune with their needs.

A brand portfolio is a cohesive group of eyewear collections that represents style, value, and wearability in each category of eyewear you offer. Here are some of the factors you should be considering when putting together a buying plan to build a solid designer brand portfolio.

Why should you develop a designer brand portfolio of eyewear? For the same reason your favorite stores have put the strongest emphasis on brand clothing, shoes, accessories, and housewares. People want to feel confident in the buying decisions they make and believe they have

Zimco’s Harvé Benard eyewear is defined by the thematic expression of color and temple treatments (Style No. HB590 shown here).

chosen wisely. Offering familiar brands that have an identity associated with them helps them in the selection process.

If your patients love the quality and styling of Michael Kors apparel and accessories, chances are that they will be equally pleased with Michael Kors eyewear (by Marchon Eyewear), the pinnacle of modern American luxury eyewear. The collection is sleek, sexy, and sophisticated and runs the style gamut from cutting-edge fashion to hallmark aviators. Made from the finest materials, Michael Kors eyewear artfully combines textures, materials, and iconic design elements to create eyewear that allows the wearer to feel at home with luxury.

When considering which brands to offer, look at your practice’s economic makeup for guidance. Brands are available at all price points, both in mainstream retail and in the eyewear category, so don’t kid yourself that your cost-conscious patients don’t want to have brand options available to them in a budget-conscious price point.

Harvé Benard has been designing elegant, tailored women’s wear for over 50 years. The designer also creates small leather goods, women’s shoes, and in recent years, men’s wear. Harvé Benard eyewear (by Zimco Optics) is defined by the thematic expression of color and temple treatments in a collection for women and men. Most of the frames are made of stainless steel, and offer a great value with style and a solid designer identity.

Another important consideration will be which brands are a good fit for

Michael Kors eyewear by Marchon is the pinnacle of modern American luxury
eyewear (Style No. MKS206 shown here).

your patients. If you are in a hip, young college town or a community that puts high value on independently run restaurants and local artists, put more emphasis on trendy designers. Affluent areas are likely to highlight luxury brands.

Up-and-coming designer collections are great fun and will initiate interest and dialogue even with a more conservative patient. Alexander McQueen eyewear (by Safilo USA) displays an assertive character with avant-garde flair. The skull icon is a recurring theme in the designer’s accessories. The hot colors and distinctive jewelry-inspired temples give the sunwear in the collection a strong “Rock Star” attitude.

An optical business in an upscale resort town or a major shopping venue will most likely market luxury designs in both sun and ophthalmic eyewear to its clientele. Chanel (by Luxottica), possibly the most recognizable eyewear design of the 21st century, offers both sun and ophthalmic collections that are “the little black dress” of eyewear. Chanel’s founder, Coco, made her design name with a vision of women’s wear as timeless simple silhouettes executed perfectly using the best materials. The Chanel eye- and sunwear collections carry on this tradition.

Knowing who your client base is plays a vital role in determining a successful mix of brands.

Eyewear designers have put a great deal of effort into merging the design philosophy of their collection with the target consumer’s gender and lifestyle. And this message can work in your favor if you’ve done your homework.

Think about the image associated with Range Rover (by Premiere Vision, A luxury division of Logo of the Americas Inc.) and you have a perfect example of gender-based brands. The Range Rover collection of eyewear is positioned to appeal to the affluent male aged 35 and up. A man that wants the quality of his purchase to show in its design details will welcome the Range Rover eyewear collection with iconic Range Rover details incorporated into the temple detailing.

A youthful female patient who wants chic timeless styling would embrace Safilo’s Kate Spade collection. The eyewear, like its designer, is witty and playful yet graceful and sophisticated.

When New York-based designer Kay Unger created her Phoebe Couture collection, she firmly believed that “fashion is not about age, it’s about lifestyle, a woman’s scene of self, and her desire to express her creative side through her style choices.” As a result, she stayed true to the same elements that had defined Kay Unger New York—color, quality, fit, and femininity—but with an edgier and more lighthearted slant. Nouveau Eyewear carefully follows Kay Unger’s design philosophy bringing the same flirtatious edge into both the Phoebe Couture eyewear and sunglass collections.

Do you have a primarily family-based practice? What percentage of your patients are children? Kids have very definite brand preferences and play an influential role in family’s buying decisions. Children develop strong brand preferences early on. It’s remarkable how great an impact a tween or teen’s input has on the buying decision of the parents.

GUESS (by Viva International Group) caters to the youthful consumer, offering original, fresh, and innovative styling. GUESS eyewear brings women’s and men’s fashion-forward trends to tweens with a fun individualistic approach to style.

Brands are too powerful to overlook. Be sure you do the research for your office and stock the designer brands that your patients can identify with. If you do this well, your sales will be amply rewarded.

Roxanne Armstrong is a licensed optician and owner of Art For Your Face in McLean, VA.

800-422-2020 •

Marchon Eyewear
800-645-1300 •

Nouveau Eyewear
800-292-4342 •

Premiere Vision, A luxury division of Logo of the Americas Inc.
800-345-3733 •

Safilo USA
800-631-1188 •

Viva International Group
800-345-VIVA •

Zimco Optics


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