“Match brings family culture to our employees, our sales team,
and our loyal customer base.”
Jonathan Pratt, CEO of Match Eyewear, has been an entrepreneur for the past 40 years, owning numerous companies in a variety of industries. In 1989, he started his first retail optical
location (which he still owns today) and within a few years expanded that to 19 stores. Drawing on his retail experience to help build the wholesale side, Jonathan launched Match Eyewear in
2001 with Ethan Goodman. He currently oversees the strategic direction of the company. Here, Jonathan speaks about Design Gallery, Match’s latest collaboration, and the importance of
BETH SCHLAU: How does Match Eyewear distinguish itself from other eyewear companies?
JONATHAN PRATT: Match brings family culture to our employees, our sales team, and our loyal customer base. That, along with the old-fashioned work ethic of our team led by Ethan Goodman and
Scott Kaehler, keeps us moving forward and never standing still. Our executive team is focused seven days a week, day and night, on managing the rest of the team and helping customers
solve their challenges and special requests. We know that earning their business and increasing market share means working harder than everyone else, and that starts at the top and carries
on throughout the organization. From the rigorous care we take in product quality to our frame designs, we make sure everyone knows we are in this to help as partners. We strongly believe
it’s more than a business-we really love and enjoy what we do every day.
BETH: What was the reason for the decision to start Design Gallery?
JONATHAN: As the company grew, it became apparent that moving into new arenas would be crucial for future expansion. The boutique market is somewhere we had not focused, although
our strengths in quality and design certainly give us an advantage. While the industry continues to move toward managed care and insurance, the boutique market represents a way to maintain
our business as it has always been-personalized service and care for professionals who appreciate fine quality and fashion. The brands at Match are known for their “affordable luxury,” so it
was natural for us to move into the actual luxury end of the market.
BETH: How did you pick Vanni as your first collaboration?
JONATHAN: Our relationships at Match start with respect and trust. Giovanni Vitaloni has always had an excellent reputation both personally and for his company’s high-quality Italian eyewear.
Ethan has known Giovanni for over 20 years and has watched the designers behind the Vanni brand continue to develop innovative ways to stay current in the market. We feel privileged to have
the opportunity to be part of the Vanni family and to work along with Giovanni on the brand’s future. Collections may come and go, but the great ones will be here for the long run. Our partnership with Giovanni and the Vanni collection has actually brought more than we expected. We have not only been able to open new doors in the high-end market, but have been able to add the collection to be with many of our existing customers. We look forward to many years of working together with Vanni and building the brand loyalty it deserves.
BETH: Do you see other alliances ahead for Design Gallery?
JONATHAN: We will soon be adding other brands to the Design Gallery division to bolster our presence in the high-end market segment. Ultimately we plan to make Design Gallery a robust business on its own.
BETH: Adrienne Vittadini Studio is a bridge line to Adrienne Vittadini. Has it been a successful venture?
JONATHAN: The Studio line has been received extremely well. Once again, Ethan has designed an incredible collection that has been selling through faster than we had anticipated. The line represents the younger market that Vittadini wanted to attract, and at price points that are very affordable to everyone. The line is now in optical shops across the country as well as in many larger chains. It has also been successful outside the U.S. without the strength of the Vittadini name recognition, which is a testimony to the product quality and style for the younger market it attracts.
BETH: In what ways do you work with your ECP customers to build strong relationships?
JONATHAN: We try hard to ensure that our sales personnel respect the relationships we have. Because it is part of our company culture to value our partnerships with ECPs, we have always shown our customers our appreciation through gifts and rewards. We also try to accommodate special requests for trunk shows, and provide special training sessions and incentive programs for staff as well as focused marketing and promotional materials. We always work to give superior support for service when it comes to Rx and replacement frames. Having the ability to fulfill orders at over a 96% fill rate helps us finalize sales. Our accounts know they can count on us to get them what they need and quickly.
BETH: Is sunwear a focus of your product strategy?
JONATHAN: We are looking into entering the sunglass market. We now produce a small collection of suns for the ECP channel, and will be expanding that with some of the Design Gallery collections. We are also considering adding the non-optical channel to our business plan, since most suns are sold at retail in the U.S.