Optical Retail Success 99


Tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.


“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
―Seth Godin



Professional Grades

Are you [optician] a professional?

Invariably, this question and others like it lead to the hot topic of certifications, licenses, formal education, and the demand for more of them. After all, these have been the gold standards across industries, for years by which we measure a person’s “professional” worth. So it all makes perfect sense.

But, it turns out these things don’t actually matter much anymore. It turns out these are relics of an economy that valued cogs—an economy that would, in fact, die if it didn’t have enough cogs—but now finding it has fewer and fewer places where a cog might even fit.

In an economy that is being completely torn apart and rebuilt by the internet, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, among other things, cogs are becoming irrelevant. Whether by a machine, an AI, or a worker in another country, the work of cog can be done cheaper and more efficiently than it can be done by you.

Instead of cogs, the economy now values people who can solve new problems created by its own disruption, people that put passion into their work, and people that can lead others to think differently—none of these are taught in school.

The old definition of a professional meant that you were formally trained and certified to be a cog.  


It’s time for a new definition:

Professionals care deeply about their work and the people they do the work for. Professionals understand that raising the average is part of their job. Professionals don’t need a law that tells them how to do their job. Above all professionals understand that no matter how important they think their work is, their profession does not exist unless there are people willing to pay for it.

If you are among the “optical gurus” who believe it’s imperative to make opticianry a better through education consider the following:

What if you didn’t have the force of law to consider as a potential path to improvement? What if you you had to lead your community from the front, to a better future instead of conspiring in a small group to determine—but to most likely never act on—what is “best for everyone?” How might that look different from what we’ve seen in the past and still see today?

Formal education can be a foundation, no doubt, but it is no guarantee of quality. Lifelong, informal education is far more powerful, but unlike formal education, it cannot be forced. It requires volunteers and enrollment, but most importantly, leadership.

Informal education spreads and can scale more easily than ever. When professionals see other professionals investing in themselves, learning on their own, striving to become better, that becomes the new expected behavior. It’s infectious. I’ve seen it first hand in the very best business cultures and my wife has experienced it as a teacher in the very best public schools. Tribes that are self-led and self-taught are incredible be a part of and nearly unstoppable.

The path forward, it seems, is not some pie-in-the-sky notion of what might have worked yesterday, where we invest in things that that our economy no longer values. Instead it depends on your willingness to accept the changes we face, to connect, to lead others that would join you in a journey of growth and self-education. If you can teach something, find someone who wants to be taught. Stop waiting for some organizational decree or legal action that will never come, look in the mirror and create a new standard of “professionalism” for yourself and the people you care about. Licensed or unlicensed, doctor or optician, we all face similar challenges.


Just keep in mind, all the professional education in the world, whether formal or informal, means nothing without customers willing to pay for it. Their wants, their needs, and their reality must always come first.



Insta Gramification 

Young, distracted and styled just-so, Anissa Kheloufi is part of a growing genus of Instagram junkies. As the 21-year-old flits around the Paris suburb of Saint Ouen, she’s incessantly snapping photos and videos. Usually they’re of her friend Cynthia Karsenty, who preens for the camera in swanky clothes ranging from high-waisted shorts and pin-striped jumpers to big, fuzzy slippers.

It is, by all appearances, a parade of self-indulgence — a life over-edited and ultra-shared. But what the eye-rolling onlooker doesn’t understand is that Kheloufi is building an apparel empire one snap at a time, one that pulls in close to $40,000 a month.

Anissa is the future of retail.



Windows - Are Yours a 10?

They set the tone for your customer experience and thus require careful thought and consideration. Here are some tips to get your store windows updated and driving traffic. 



A Convenient Truth

For decades, maybe even centuries, people have wanted the most food, housing, furniture, clothing and accessories for every dollar. But people are now divided into two camps: those that want value and those that want convenience.

Neither are typically strong points for independent brick and mortar opticals.

The price conscious customer may be all but lost to online or outlets like WalMart and Costco, but the convenience-oriented customer could still be won with a relentless focus on reducing friction for eyewear consumers (something few opticals know or care anything about).



Social Change 

55% of consumers report buying products online after stumbling across them on social media. Are you positioning yourself to be stumbled upon?



If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
—John Quincy Adams



Video of The Week:  Decentration

This week we begin our series on finishing layout work. All finishing work is based on lens movement within the frame eyewire opening. The most common movement is aligning the lens OC with the customer PD. We do this by decentering the lens. Watch to the end to see John get a bit “off-center” himself. 


Although, we may already have more video content to create than we can finish before we die, send me an email and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see us cover in the next Video of The Week.


Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.


You can help keep it going in two ways:


Become a paid-member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).

Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!


I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success.  

Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.

Thanks for reading and sharing!