If you were to meet her, you might never suspect that she’s one of opticianry’s icons, but Juanita Moman embodies this perfectly. Turning 90 years old this month, Moman has had a long and highly successful opticianry career. She also broke a number of barriers that female opticians today take for granted.
Moman’s dad was a farmer outside of Gadsden, AL, (where she was born) and he used to sell eyeglasses from a horse and buggy in their region to supplement the family income. “As a young child,
I wanted a pair of eyeglasses more than anything else, even though I didn’t need them,” Moman admits. “I loved how people looked with them so that’s the kind of work I wanted to do when I grew up,”
As a young woman, Moman got a job in Gadsden selling eyeglasses in an optical shop. She enjoyed the work and was learning opticianry but her position was eliminated. With the support of her husband, Moman opened her own optical shop in December of 1975, known as Moman’s Optical. “We borrowed every penny to open that shop,” she explains.
In 1975, the optical business was mostly comprised of men, with hardly any women opticians and almost no female business owners. That made Moman’s venture into the business pretty unique, although she never saw it as a pioneering effort-to her it just seemed like the natural thing to do.
When asked what made her so successful, Moman modestly stated that she had no special talent and attributed all her success to God. However, Moman’s friendly charm, genuine care for people, remarkable sense of fashion and accessory coordination, and keen business sense were her tools. You never saw her without a coordinating pair of eyeglasses. They were her trademark.
She would also send press releases to local newspapers, newsletters, radio stations, and others who would run them, providing her free advertising.
Moman has been nominated three times by 20/20 Magazine for its “Best and Brightest Opticians” list, and in 1999, she was the first woman to be named “Guild Optician of the Year.” In 2000, she was named the “Most Valuable Person” in the optical field in the U.S., and received an International Award from the Association of Professional Opticians of Italy. She also has an impressive list of professional and civic involvement and awards.
As Moman turns 90, it’s heartwarming to reflect on the success of a woman who followed her childhood dream and made a huge success of it. Her conviction and hard work should be a source
of inspiration for all those who aspire to fulfill their dreams in this industry.
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