|Vigor’s highest-volume sales come from frame parts.|
|Nosepads from Western use high-grade silicone.|
Is it nosepads, replacement screws, or finishing pads? Some suppliers tell us which products are their best sellers.
What’s the latest in optical consumables? This is a good question because eyecare professionals (ECPs) use them every day. In fact, some offices do a brisk business in frame repairs with fixes like lost nosepads, temple screws missing or broken, temple covers etc. To find the answers, I asked a number of consumable suppliers what their best sellers are.
ON THE NOSE
Joshua Freilich, president, Western Optical Supply Inc., says his largest-selling consumables are nosepads, followed by screwdriver blades, and finally clear pattern blanks.
“Nosepads are interesting in that the quality of the silicone is what differentiates one pad from another. Otherwise, the size and shapes are all fairly similar,” Freilich said. “If you are dispensing replacement nosepads that are yellowing very quickly, then the problem is the quality of the original raw material. We use the highest-grade silicone so our clients do not have to be bothered to replace off-color pads frequently, causing poor client sentiment,” he added.
In nosepads, Vigor Optical’s top sellers are the symmetrical small silicone pads in sizes like 13mm. Screw pads always outsell the push style. “While we all seem to think the titanium skinny temple tips reign high, the high usage is in a 1.5 diameter paddle temple tip,” said Ginger Futcher, sales manager at Vigor Optical, a division of Grobet USA. “Why? Because these are the older styles and the older frames are the ones that need replacement parts. Also this is a style on less expensive frames and they need more servicing.”
Debbie Fittzgibbons, Hilco’s director of marketing communications, said one of its best-selling consumables is the Logic 2.0 universal nosepad. Hilco promotes the Logic 2.0 by saying it can reduce nosepad inventories up to 80%. This occurs because “it simplifies your business and reduces your cost,” Fitzgibbons said. “Using innovative technology, this nose pad has a patented dual-purpose design that allows it to fit screw-on and push-on mounts and its symmetrical surface design eliminates separate rights and lefts.” It has a contemporary design and is made of premium no-slip silicone.
|Hilco’s newest product on the market is the Thread-Seeker XLT spring hinge replacement screw.|
|Satisloh’s Conform Finish Block is made with specially engineered True Center Support rather than a solid block back.|
Dynamic Labs has developed the High Density (HD) silicone nosepad. While this pad looks and feels like conventional nose pads, it is made out of a high density silicone that is resistant to facial oils that normally cause pad discoloration making it last longer than standard silicone nosepads. They are available in both snap and screw-on and in various shapes and sizes. “When patients are paying hundreds of dollars for glasses the last thing they want is to have the nosepads discolor and ruin the look of the glasses,” said Dan Vogel, key account co-ordinator at Dynamic Labs.
|UPGRADING THE FINISH PAD When Satisloh’s engineers realized that finish blocking was too time-consuming and challenging, they decided it was time to simplify the process. They first tackled the lowly finish pad and came up with Satislohs Conform Finish Block, Conform Advantage finish pad, and Conform Advantage Plus finish pad. The new Conform Finish Block is made with True Center Support rather than a solid block back. All the products are available in Satisloh’s unique rugby shape supplying larger surface area coverage for today’s lens shapes and greatly reducing slippage and axis-related challenges.|
SCREWS SELL WELL
Vigor sells many consumables from polishing compounds to frame repair parts. The highest volume of sales come from frame parts. “Frame styles determine what is high volume,” said Futcher. “What makes a high- volume consumable is when many frame manufacturers use a particular part.” She continued by saying self-tapping and self-aligning screws sell the best, closely followed by nosepad screws and hinge screws 1.4 mm in diameter. With the advent of titanium and lightweight small temples, small hinges are popular and so too are short screws such as those which are 3.8mm to 5mm in diameter. “About 85% of the screws we sell are 1.4 mm in diameter,” Futcher said. With compression mountings, replacement bushings are also good sellers.
Hilco’s newest product on the market is the Thread-Seeker™ XLT spring hinge replacement screw. It is extra long for easy handling and its sharper taper aligns with the most difficult hinges.
Daryl Squicciarini, vice president at OptiSource International, said a best seller for them is the Snapit frame screw “because they save time by making repairs and assembly a cinch. For the same cost as the standard frame screws, the extra-long feeder tab on Snapit easily guides screws into misaligned hinges and barrels, then breaks off cleanly with just your fingers. This smooth finish eliminates clipping and filing.”
OptiSource’s other popular product is an All Off progressive marking ink remover “because it is the very best solution for safely dissolving any ink marking without scrubbing and is compatible with all lens materials,” Squicciarini said.
Western sources its screwdriver blades using German-grade steel. “This minimizes the blade edge twisting out of shape or chipping away,” Freilich said. “A good solid blade will stay in the screw head slot more securely so you are less likely to slip and scratch the eyewear. Proper size blade heads, whether slot or Phillips, designed specifically for optical screws and not jeweler’s needs, also help to minimize slippage,” he added.
|OptiSource’s best-selling consumable is the Snapit frame screw.|
DAC Vision’s two top-selling consumables are its BluEdge™ finishing pads and its Lumina premium polishing pads. Both have won the OLA Award of Excellence and they are used by labs around the world. The BluEdge finishing pads have rolls of 2,000 pads and are offered in many shapes to match today’s block styles and sizes. They are double tabbed for easy removal. DAC’s Lumina premium polish pads have a fiber design and are highly durable.
BLOCKING PADS AND TAPE
OptiSource’s newest consumable is its Cobalt King blocking pad. “It uses the newest adhesive technology and a premium foam to work with today’s equipment, lenses and coatings; all at a value price,” Squicciarini said.
Practical Systems Inc. (PSI) just came out with EZ LenSaver Tape in blue and green 72-yd. rolls. The new tape is linerless, offering double the tape on the same size roll. These rolls reduce the number of tape change outs by 50% and can be used in both manual and automated tapers. They bond securely to lenses without wrinkling and are easy to remove.
Generally, new consumables don’t come out very often. Vigor sees a growing demand for a single tube compression fastener but they still don’t sell as well as double leg compression bushing fasteners. Futcher said her newest frame part is the air lock style bushing which came out in late 2009. Since then, “I haven’t seen anything really revolutionary,” she said. “The same old standbys can do the same job for a lot less money. There’s no demand until someone calls me and asks me for it. The day demand hits, you’ve got to be ahead of it.”
|THE CLEAR PATTERN BLANK A product of a bygone era that still enjoys strong sales is the pattern blank. Now Western Optical Supply offers it in a clear material. “When a patient cannot be without their spectacles and you do not have a tracer, the clear pattern is a low-tech answer to your dilemma,” said Joshua Freilich, president of Western Optical.|
Carol Gilhawley is Senior Editor of VCPN.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
800-800-1550 • dacvision.com
888-339-6264 • dynamiclabs.net
800-955-6544 • hilco.com
800-678-4768 • 1-800-optisource.com
Practical Systems Inc. (PSI)
800-330-3800 • lookToPSI.com
800-866-5640 • Satisloh.com
Vigor Optical (a division of Grobet USA)
800-847-4188 • vigoroptical.com
Western Optical Supply
800-423-3294 • westernoptical.com