Frame fit: Nose pads

When helping customers select a new frame it seems that there are only ever two types of people – those who want notepads, and those who definitely don’t! These days with the amount of metal frames being made  – and made well! – it’s time we had a little talk about how to wear them.

So why is this particular part of the frame such a love/hate topic for wearers? Personally I can wear either, but there are a lot of contributing factors as to why this could be be, and why others may have a specific aversion to wearing them.

First, lets get into the details about notepads, and bridge fit.

Bridge fit = Across the wearers nose.

Most nose pads are made from either PVC or a type of silicone that either clip in or are screwed into the metal of the nose pad arm. Alternatively, I occasionally come across metal, titanium and rubber mix’s on some brands. Usually there are two nose pads, one for each side of the bridge of the nose that are available in a few sizes to fit the wearer.

img_2877The second type of fit is a lot less common these days, although wearers may have come across them in the past – Saddle bridges. Saddle Bridges can either click or screw into either side of the frame like the singular nose pads, however they are one piece that rests across the bridge of the nose, creating an in-between option from the two most popular designs. In more traditional frames you may see some models that come with this style of nose pad as standard, and it can also be built into the frame design from the start.

img_2872And lastly, the moulded acetate fit. Nothing special about this really, it’s basically just the shape that has been moulded into the design of the frame that sits across the bridge of your nose. This is a ‘one-size-per-frame’ design and can not really be altered so it is very important to get the fit right before you make a purchase. Some brands offer an ‘alternative fit’ range of frames which have a wider designed bridge for the same model of frame, allowing more people to have the correct fit.

So, now you have a basic understanding of the types of nose pads and bridge fits, why do some people have a severe preference one way or another? Honestly, it could be for a number of reasons, even a mixture of reasons and issues which I’ll go through with you below.

  • The nose pads haven’t been adjusted correctly on your metal frame. Sounds simple, but is easily the most common issue! If the nose pads are pushed in too tight on a wearers nose, they will dig in leaving red marks and sometimes even sores. This can also happen if a frame is bumped and one pad is moved more than the other. Similarly, if the nose pads are adjusted too wide, the metal bridge of the frame itself will rest on the wearers nose, also causing pain and discomfort. Not to mention this leaves the frame easily moving on the wearers face causing their vision to often be effected too.

TIP: Correctly fitted nose pads should be adjusted and sitting parallel with your natural nose shape. This means the weight and pressure will be distributed more evenly and feel a lot more comfortable!

  • The Acetate frame just isn’t the correct fit. If it’s too tight it will pinch and is likely to cause headaches through pressure on the bridge of your nose. If it’s too wide the frame will move around too easily on your face and constantly slip down no matter how the rest of the frame is fitted for you. Ideally, your Optical dispenser should be pointing out these fitting issues for you before you even purchase the frame, and should advise you if there is an alternative fit available for your frame choice.

TIP: If you already have an acetate frame (or similar – anything with a moulded bridge really) that is ill-fitting, don’t throw them out just yet! In some cases, adjusting the fit by adding stick-on-nosepads may be enough to get you sorted until you are ready to purchase your next pair. These are most commonly available in either clear silicone or a skin-toned felt which is attached to the inside of the bridge and cushions the fit for you. Alternatively, in most cases you can actually have metal armed nose pads just like a metal frame affixed to your acetate frame by a frame repair company, which will then give you more flexibility with the fit.

  • Your lenses are too heavy for your selected frame. This one can be applied to any type of frame, and any type of fit. The bottom line is, if your lenses are thick and/or heavy, the fit of the frame on the bridge of your nose becomes even MORE important. Any extra lens weight will push down on the bridge of your nose and feel like the nose pads or fit of the frame are the culprit – this is not always the case! If you have had the fit checked as per the above tips, you may need to look at investing in High Index lenses. This will result in a lighter lens weight for you and a more comfortable overall fit. (For more info look at my post on High Index Lenses)

TIP: Always discuss fitting issues with your Optical Dispenser – do not try to adjust them yourself! A lot of the time nose pad and fitting issues can be fixed quite easily if you are dealing with a quality dispenser who knows what they’re doing. And remember, if you don’t tell them there’s something wrong and you’re not happy, they won’t have the chance to fix it!

  • The frame itself is too heavy. This is a tricky one! I’m sure anyone that has worn glasses understands that what the frame feels like when you are first trying them on without your lenses, is hardly ever what they will feel like when you collect the finished product. Frame adjustment and lens weight also play a factor here, and there is no easy way to explain how to avoid an uncomfortable frame – it’s going to be up to the individual. When looking for frames though, be aware of how they feel on. How the frame weight is distributed on your face, and ask the likelihood of the frame being heavier on collection due to your lenses. Invest in quality frame materials: this really does make a difference! An example is in intricately designed solid alloy frame compared to an intricately designed thin titanium frame. They may look very similar on the shelf but their wearability is going to be completely different.

TIP: Generally speaking, you pay for what you get in the optical industry. Be wary of some companies trying to ‘push’ a particular brand of frame on you. I’ve seen countless examples of customers being told a frame is perfect for them when in reality, the only thing it fits is the sales persons’s daily $$$ target.

In summary, wearing glasses should never be an uncomfortable experience. And if they are, there are usually things that can be done to fix your issue. Always go back to your optometrist after you’ve had new glasses for a week or two as with body heat, sometimes frames can stretch and/or move. And lastly, remember the below points when you are looking to purchase new frames :

  • Fit and comfort are THE MOST important thing about a frame.
  • Always ask about the weight and thickness of your lenses in comparison to your last pair.
  • Take your time and never be rushed into making a decision.
  • Ask to try on alternative types of frames so that you can feel the difference in fit. Eg. Acetate vs metal with nose pads.

 

 

The Eyewear Girl xoxo

 

 

Summer Shields by Childe

Last year I came across Australian Brand Childe and instantly fell in love with their collection, their story and their determination to do things their way. My collection of Sunglasses from them has steadily grown over the last 12 months so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw them pushing the boundaries – again- by releasing two very unique Shield sunglasses.

img_1614
CHILDE Tuppaware

You all know I love a good story. And the ‘Komodo’ Sunglass sure has a good one. Originally designed as an acetate frame with inspiration coming from the 1950’s sunglass era, the end result is far from today’s ‘wrap sports shields’ – this is designed for fashion, making a statement and the WOW factor. Childe designer Jon was discussing the idea with the manufacturer in the early stages, who suggested seeing the design in a single lens shield. When the sample arrived, Jon just knew it was the right way to go.

“When we received the sample it was WILD and we were like WOW so we just had to do it.”

You can still see the 1950’s detailing in the temples, but what grabs my attention is the butterfly shaping of the lens. It’s feminine but edgy, fashion but rock and unique in a way that the wearer just won’t care whether you like it or not. Everything that Childe stands for.

Available in 3 colourways which are all completely different to each other, this model is not ‘on trend’ – its leading the trends.

 

The words ‘Limited Edition’ get me Every. Single. Time. It’s seriously a problem haha. So when the ‘Tuppaware’ sunglass was being teased on Social Media, I was in. 200%, I was going to get myself a pair of them ASAP. Although I don’t wear them every day, when I do – on those occasions where I truly want to be noticed – they work a charm.

img_1612
CHILDE Tuppaware

Designed with inspiration and input from vocalist Shelly Fitspatrick of the Sydney band The Tuppaware Party, the Tuppaware model is an extreme sweeping Cats Eye perfect for narrow faces.

“Shelly loves a cat eye but she wanted something with more flair and we wanted to develop a style that embellished her confidence and on stage sass while performing” – Jon, CHILDE.

Tuppaware is sophisticated. It’s Sexy. It’s fun. It demands attention then poses for pictures looking sassy, classy and elegant before the wearer has a chance to think. If I ever get myself and my drums back to gigging, these will be my go-to pair for demanding the stage.

Also available in 3 different colourways, these limited edition sunnies are bound to be a highlight of any eyewear collection.

 

Both Shields are designed in Australia, hand made in Italy, in a 4 base curve and feature temples made from a plant based grilamide polymer. If you’re after something different this summer, the Childe website is well worth investigating. All of their designs are trend-breaking, high quality and really well priced – you won’t be sorry you searched.

Em x

 

 

 

Do you need High Index lenses?

When it comes to prescription glasses, a lot of consumers are still in the dark. There is a lot of terminology that is used in the Optometry practice to describe products and procedures, which often aren’t explained as thoroughly as they should be. A lot of this is around prescription lenses, and the options each customer has. In this post, I’m going to give you a little info on High Index lenses.

Firstly, what exactly are high index lenses? In extremely basic terms, they are prescription lenses made from a more compact material than the ‘standard’. Now, I could get extremely technical on this topic, but given a lot of my readers are from outside the industry, I’ll stick to the basics this time around! Lens materials are generally listed in the refractive index, 1.5 being the ‘standard’ across the industry. The higher the number equals a higher refractive index, and thinner and more compact the lens material. The most commonly used lens indices across Australia at the moment are: 1.5, 1.53, 1.6, 1.67 ad 1.74. There are more, but they have quite limited ranges of lens designs to choose from, and I don’t want to turn this into a novel;)

img_8915

The first reason your Optometrist or Optical Dispenser may recommend you consider high index lenses, is due to your prescription. When you have a prescription that requires a plus lens (+) the thickest part of the lens will be the centre. And when you require a minus lens (-), the outside edge will be the thickest part. The stronger (higher) the prescription, the thicker the lens will be. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of high index lenses for both plus and minus lens types.

img_1339Plus lenses

Plus lenses are thickest in the centre, which means you re more likely to see more edget thickness in a smaller frame. However, having the thickness in the centre means that once your prescription is close to or more than +2.00, the weight of your lenses can become an issue. On top of this, thickness in the centre of your lenses means there is more room within the lens for light to refract, which can cause aberrations resulting in vision that isn’t as ‘crisp’ as it could be for you. By looking at high index lens options you:

  • May reduce the weight of your lenses resulting in a more comfortable pair of glasses
  • Have less aberrations within the lens meaning a clearer result for your visual correction
  • Cosmetically your lenses will not look as ‘magnified’ to people looking at you, due to the more compact finish.
  • High index lenses are stronger than the standard material, so you will get better longevity from them too.

Minus lensesimg_1338

Minus lenses are thickest at the outside edge, and with high prescriptions, the lens can be sometimes seen to ‘overhang’ the frame. This is most noticeable with metal frames, but depending on the strength of your prescription, may also be noticed with acetate frames. As with high plus lenses, weight can be an issue, and having too much thickness on the outside of your prescription can cause a ‘swimming’ effect in your vision in the peripheral zones, especially when wearing progressive lens designs. Looking at high index lens options for you could:

  • Reduce the weight of your glasses resulting in more comfortable eyewear
  • Compact and reduce the amount of aberrations and ‘swim’ effect in your peripheral vision
  • Fit into your chosen frame better meaning you are less likely to have issues down the track
  • Cosmetically more appealing as the thickness won’t be as visible around the edge of your frame.
  • High index lenses are stronger than the standard material, so you will get better longevity from them too.

 

Below are some examples of when consumers should consider high index lenses, with any type or strength of prescription:

  • When you are looking to purchase eyewear with a higher than usual base curve, most commonly wrap sunglasses. The benefits in this case would be the more impact resistant properties of the lens material, as well as minimising any distortions to the side of the lens. When considering wrap sunglasses there are a lot of things to consider including lens design depending on your prescription, so always ensure you ask if your prescription is a good match for the frame you like.
  • When purchasing a semi-rimless frame. These are the frames that look to have frame at the top, but not the bottom. These designs actually have a piece of nylon attached to both sides of the lens area, which holds the lens in place. When your lenses are being made, a groove is bevelled into the centre of your lens where the nylon will sit in place. High index lenses are beneficial in this example again, for the strength – to help avoid chipping on those raw outside edges. Your Optical Dispenser should request a minimum edge thickness when you order this type too, also helping reduce the likelihood of lens chipping.
  • When purchasing a rimless frame design. Rimless frames are also referred to as 3 piece designs; two temples (arms) and the bridge (across the nose). These frames require the lenses to have holes drilled through them for the frame to then be fitted into place. You must have a high index lens material in this case as a 1.5 index will crack. On top of this, in a rimless design if your lenses are too heavy, the entire frame will always slip forward nomatter how well it is adjusted to your face. Balance and weight distribution is extremely important when considering a rimless frame design.
  • All children’s glasses! You guessed it: Mainly for the impact resistance, however there are obvious benefits for minimized weight (better fit) and thinner lenses (better clarity) as well.

So in summary, there is a reason every single consumer should at least consider high index lenses, but every single pair of glasses needs to be considered independently. Most reading glasses that stay at home with a prescription under +2.00 for example, wouldn’t need to be high index lenses unless the wearer is extremely sensitive to weight.

As always, have a more detailed discussion with your Optometrist or Optical dispenser on your specific needs, wants and expectations of your lenses. They will be able to inform you when it would be beneficial to go down this track, and give you examples of what to expect with the different outcomes for each material.

If you would like more detailed information on any of the above, please email or message me – I’m always happy to help! And as I mentioned earlier, this is a very basic summary of the topic….I could honesty write for days! But I hope this helps empower some of you to investigate a little further than you normally would. After all, when you have to wear them every day, your eyewear is one of the most important purchases you make.

Em x

Customer Service or Customer Care?

Today’s post is based on my experiences which are mostly from within the optical industry, but could applied to anyone that purchases basically anything from a store. When I started out in optics I was taught all about ‘Customer Service’ and what that meant. ‘The customer is always right’ etc was used as if it were law and employees had no rights whatsoever. Obviously a lot has changed since then, and ‘Customer Service’ means something different to everyone – Including business owners.

So what is the difference? Again, there are going to be a lot of differing opinions on this, but let me share my thoughts with you.

Firstly, as a consumer, I think of customer service as someone that is there to assist a img_1105customer by processing a purchase, or helping with basic information. Think working a checkout at a supermarket or behind a desk at Newsagents. Someone who is there to finalise a purchase for a consumer who basically knows at least roughly what they are there for. Customer Care however opens up a whole new area, care of course being the key word. Someone who works in customer care is more likely to work in a field that includes or involves health care, or a service rather than products alone. Customer care is when you are assisted with decision making before even making a decision to purchase and you have all of your options explained to you in a customised manner. Both are needed, in the right place.

Now, I get that this is a very broad summary but my point here is  – There are always options in every industry for you to be treated as an individual. Sometimes, you just have to look outside your ‘norm’.

img_1091When considering the Optometry industry, you will realise that we cover both areas, Retail AND Health care. Health care being our main focus, and Retail being an extra, or after thought based on the outcome of your eye examination. Or at least, that’s how it should be. When visiting your local Optometry practice what you should expect, is that you are treated as an individual, not as a number. Sure, there are places where you can go and get glasses made up for $39AU, but rest assured you are literally treated like a number on a board, ‘assisted’ by whomever is free first.

Independent practices first and foremost are in business because they want to help people. They want to establish a relationship with you, and give you information based on what your needs are, so that you can make an informed decision on how and when to proceed. This, is customer care.  When an optical dispenser sits down and asks you about your lifestyle, computer and phone usage, how active a person you are  and how rough you are going to be -realistically- on your frames, this is because they want to make sure they help explain the best options that suit your individual needs, NOT because they want to hurry you up so they can move onto the next customer. Huge difference hey?

So when your local independent practice orders a frame you like in other colours for you to look at without any commitment, that is care. When they sit down and ask about your child’s sport after seeing them play on the weekend, that is care. And when they repair your sunglasses at no charge because they accidently went through the washing machine again, its because they understand, and they care. They care about you and your family long term.img_1107

So what happens when you come to see them for an eye exam but go and buy those $39AU specs from up the road? It hurts. And when you bring them in to be repaired because you accidently forgot which pair they were? They will most likely repair them for you because they know you can’t go to work without them or you will get a headache frame the glare that will lead into a migraine later. These are the things that separate customer care from customer service.

There is no right or wrong here. Customer Service vs Customer Care is up to every individuals’ interpretation, but I believe everyone has the right to understand that there are huge differences in the level and quality of care across our industry. The bottom line is, as always, if you want more, investigate other options. Eyecare is extremely important, and can also be expensive, so never be afraid to look around and find a match that you’re truly happy investing with.

Em xo

Keep an eye on: Megan Stewart from Smec Eyewear

In an Industry that has had turbulent times over the last few years here in Australia, it is refreshing when you find someone doing something unique and pushing the boundaries. Not many young people I know would consider going into designing Eyewear, and if they did, they would be quickly led into the mass-produced companies on other shores.

But not Megan Stewart. Although ‘accidental’ that she fell into designing Eyewear under the label SMEC, her passion for design, texture and detail have always been her passion. And if you ask me, that’s exactly what eyewear should be. Unafraid to experiment and play with the technical side, Megan’s ideas stem from a strong design aesthetic and her colour work is absolutely stunning. Although only young, this girl is going places – FAST.

img_0780

I first came across Megan on good ‘ol Instagram, where I was browsing her feed and knew I just HAD to reach out to her. I mean, she’s young, fun, inspired and pushing Eyewear boundaries – Everything I stand for! After emails back and forth I knew her natural passion for her products was going to be contagious not just to me, but for everyone that comes into contact with her stunning collection.

Founded in 2016, SMEC eyewear has started to develop into a collection that attracts a specific consumer; one that appreciates design and detail, sees eyewear as a statement, not something to hide behind, and someone who understands the power of story-telling. So, even if it was unintentional to end up designing Eyewear, Megan has truly found a unique niche market that is going to support her and SMEC moving forward in the Australian, and International Eyewear scene.

img_9893

Lucky for me, I was able to try, play and review some on the SMEC prototypes from the first couple of collections. I could not contain my excitement when I opened the box full of all of these unique designs! The colours are what attracts me to each piece initially. All the samples I saw were made of Titanium, and had been coloured with Blues, purples, golds and pinks and were reminiscent of oil-beads from the 70’s. Absolutely stunning, and due to the process used to finish these frames, no two are ever exactly the same. You all know I LOVE when you can get something unique, that is not mass produced!

Being Titanium, of course they are extremely lightweight to wear, and having metal frames coming back into fashion at the moment, these designs are leading the way. The shapes are like nothing I have seen on the shelves in Australia. With Megans silversmith designing background, she approaches these with a unique perspective of designing for a unique style, rather than what is likely to ‘sell’ to the masses. Pure genius. This is where we need growth in Australian Eyewear- right where people least expect it.

img_0385I was lucky enough to be able to ask Megan a few questions about herself and SMEC eyewear.

TEG: Why did you get into designing eyewear specifically? Was this always your dream?

MEGAN: I got into designing eye wear completely by accident! I was studying jewellery design at Central TAFE in Perth, once completed I decided to go to the ANU School of Art and Design and majoring in Gold and Silversmithing for 3 years.

In the 3rd year, you have an independent project for your major and you get to choose what you want to make/research/develop. One of my minor classes taught me about a ‘world already full of stuff’ and I thought (and still think now) why add to the world with something doesn’t have a use or purpose? From then, I knew that whatever I designed or made had to have a use and not just be an ‘art piece’.

Someone suggested to me ‘Why don’t you design glasses?’. I’d worn them since I was 14 and thought ‘Pfffft, it’ll be a breeze, they’ll be so easy!’. Oh how wrong was I, continuing the project into my honours year, it was the hardest and most testing 2 years of study I’ve ever had!

My dream was always to pursue a creative career, but I never knew it what field to focus on. Since I started making and designing frames, I couldn’t image not continuing with them. They’ve become part of my identity and I want to share my love and passion for well-designed and made frames with designers, makers and retailers the world over.

 

TEG: What inspires you?

Megan: What inspires me most is life, as cliché as it sounds haha! One of my first frames was designed based on the mountains that surround Canberra, whereas the ‘Home’ collection from 2016, is based upon the streets I grew up on and what that time reminds me of. To me, my frames must have a purpose and meaning. I think people are drawn to things they can relate to or intrigued by and I try to design and make frames that embodies this.

TEG: How would you describe your own personal style?

Megan: Ooof that’s a tough one! I would describe my style as someone who likes to co-ordinate (scrap-booking classes taught 10 year old me more than I thought they would!), but in a lets-just-throw-it-together-and-see-what-happens. Eclectic, but cute with a love of oversized, mental looking earrings.img_9881

TEG: What has your experience been within the eyewear industry?

Megan: My experience so far with the eyewear industry has been mostly brilliant! Since starting in 2016, I’ve met the most encouraging and kind people. Eye Candy eyewear in Canberra, was the first connection I had with the industry and gave me so much help and advice. I’m also in contact with Peter Coombs who offers valuable advice.

I was a bit nervous moving back to Perth, however opticians Blink 182 (Leederville) and August eyewear (Perth CBD) have been really helpful. I recently received a message from another optician in Coogee about my frames so it’s been really encouraging.

TEG: What are your favourite materials to work with?

Megan: My favourite materials to work with are leather and titanium. Leather is a beautiful, natural material that lasts for years, and comes in different colours, textures and variations. It’s also something that ages beautifully and can be passed down to future generations. I have my Grandad’s Spectacle case (that inspired the Smec case!) and wallet that he bought from Turkey in the 1980’s and they look exactly the same all these years later.

Titanium is an incredible material as it’s lightweight, hypo-allergenic, strong and can be coloured. With titanium I feel like any design and colour combination is possible – the possibilities are literally endless.

img_0387

TEG: What are the biggest challenges for you with designing eyewear?

Megan: The biggest challenges for me whilst designing eyewear have been the technical elements, including the position of the nose bridge, the inside shape of the lens (the simpler it is, the easier it is to cut and fit) and the specific dimensions of a frame. But the hinge has been the hardest part of the frame to refine and develop. I see myself as a design/aesthetics-based thinker so producing a product that must be technically accurate has been tricky.

TEG: Tell me about your two favourite pieces you’ve designed so far?

The First of my favourite piece’s would be the ‘Kenley’ frame from the 2016 ‘Home’ collection. This frame was pretty much a first frame for everything! It was the first round frame I’d designed, first time I’d anodised my frames and first frame to have sunglass lenses fitted. It features a lavender-coloured top and graduates into the grey, sandblasted finish of the titanium. The Rodenstock lenses complement the finish beautifully as it’s a blue/purple lens that graduates to black. I love them so much; they’ve become my personal pair of sunglasses!

The second piece was a pair of frames I designed for my Mum’s 50th birthday, they’ve been heat treated with all different shades of blue. Weirdly enough, the hinge I designed for it, was the first hinge that functions beautifully with the frame and works exactly as intended. They’re a rectangular frame with rounded corners and feature detailing in the top corners. They’re special pair I designed just for her – I recently sent them off to get sunglass lenses fitted so I’m excited to see what they look like!

TEG: What does the future hold for Smec Eyewear?

The future for Smec eyewear would be refined hinges (new prototypes are getting manufactured as I type!), a new range of frames that are currently in the works featuring bold shapes and incredible colours. I would love to collaborate with other designers and makers, and really push the boundaries of eyewear. I want to encourage those who are studying in creative fields, that even though they don’t know where it’ll lead, just go with it. What I hope for Smec Eyewear is that it’s recognised nationally and internationally for its design and innovation in eyewear. To be able to attend Silmo would be an incredible experience, even just seeing my range in a local, independent optician would be indescribably amazing.

img_0779

Megan from SMEC Eyewear

Keep an eye out for Smec’s new collection launching:

To keep an eye on what Megan is up to, head to her Instagram feed : @smec_eyewear

And for the entire collection, info and details for Smec, head to the Website: http://www.smeceyewear.com.au

Em xox

Why rimless? W.EYE not?

It’s a crazy time out there in the world of optics. Yet underneath the everyday orders, sales and repairs, little stories are being told about new and exciting things to come. About people trying new things and no longer settling for what we are used to in Australian Optics.

W.EYE is a collection of rimless designs, based on and around feedback from Optometrists and Optical dispensers on what they feel is missing from the market, and feel the end consumer needs. Originally a repair solution at Frame Care (Legends!), Australia’s ‘go-to’ for all unusual and difficult repair solutions. It started back in 2013, and still today has the same team of 4 people working away to develop a rather unique collection for independent Optometry practices.

I was lucky enough to get a bit of info from one of the creators of the brand Kyleigh this week.

Kyleigh: “Our main objective when we designed W.EYE was to make a 100% handcrafted and owned Australian product to be sold in Australian Independent Optical Practices.

Peter (another of the 4 original team members) designed a set of jigs that enabled him to craft new parts to replace broken temples and bridges of (current) rimless frames. The parts he handcrafted had a universal fitting system that would fit the existing drill holes in lenses on popular (other) rimless brands.

img_0645

We originally marketed W.EYE to be different to other ‘invisible’ rimless brands by making our frames neon bright in colour. Our first campaign highlights this – “Bring out your wild colours”. Feedback from both customers and our partners was that they wanted neutral hues as well. So now the collection has two campaigns:

  • Eyewear Art – for those wanting to create a unique, colourful and bright piece of art for their face.
  • Minimalist Movement – for those wanting an invisible look

Currently the W.EYE collection is stocked in 23 independent practices in Australia, and 2 in Denmark. We also offer our frames on consignment to independent Australian Optometry practices.”

9afd1c1f-9ebf699c4cbfcb
One of the W.EYE customers in Denmark

 

What I love about the W.EYE collection is that they’re actively listening to the people in the industry, and also the end consumer. They’re not trying to create trends or follow fashion, but rather react to what the wearer wants and catering to this. Being technicians that deal with other frame faults, repairs and weaknesses on a day to day basis, they are well aware of design strengths and floors and develop the collection using this knowledge.

The colours in the Eyewear Art collection are vibrant, fun and carry an energy that the wearer can select based on their personal style. The tones in the Minimalist Movement collection are easy to wear, will go with everything, but still have that beautiful, classy finish, creating an air of sophistication with the look and feel of the end product.

To view the entire collection, or to find out more about the W.EYE products, please contact them on the below:

Insta: @weyeeyewearaustralia

Online: http://www.weyerimlesseyewear.com

A huge Thank you to Kyleigh for supplying some images, and taking time out of her busy day for this. Also, all of her support of The Eyewear Girl ox

Em xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life as an Optical Dispenser

Over my years in this industry I’ve found that most Optical Dispensers (Opticians) ‘fell’ into this job – I’m sure that there are some people out there that planned it, but the majority of us had no idea that we would end up in this profession until it happened. And I for one wouldn’t change it for anything.

My Story

My own start was quite simple. I had finished VCE and still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I lived in a small rural town and had taken on a part time job at a Newsagency until I ‘figured it out’. After about 6 months of retail, I knew I needed more, so applied for two jobs; one at a Real Estate Agency, and the other at our local Optometrist. I want to be very clear about this – I had absolutely NO connection or idea what happened at either of these businesses at this point. My family didn’t own our house, and no one had ever had glasses in my family either.img_9940

Two weeks later I had secured interviews for both, on the same day, 30 mins apart. The day was HOT – 43 degrees from memory. I went to the Real estate interview first, and it went well. After that, I had a three block walk to the Optometrist where the second interview was being held. I walked quickly in the heat, and as I was early, thought I’d have 10 mins or so to compose myself before going through. I was wrong. They were also running early, and took me in straight away.

Their first question was ‘how has your day been’? My answer? ‘Bloody HOT’.

Oh. My. Goodness. But it worked. That one line of being myself, showing that I was ‘real’ and relatable broke the ice and led to a fantastic and fun interview, which ended with a job offer on the spot. If I had have known that I was speaking the THE legendary Kevin Paisley himself that day, things may have gone a very different way, but I’m glad they didn’t.

The Reality

Working as an Optical Dispenser is not even close to what most people think it is. You have to be energetic, a problem solver, have a naturally caring nature, technically savvy, hands on, curious, love fashion, on top of trends, good with stock management….it’s a role unlike any other. However, because of the roles complex nature it is so much more rewarding than most other jobs. You actually make a difference to people’s lives at the end of the day, you solve their problems, help them with sight, assist in emergencies, help grow someone’s confidence, get to be a style consultant, and believe me, there is nothing quite like seeing a child’s eyes light up when they try on their first pair of glasses and see the world as it is. Priceless.

img_7694So, what is an ‘Optical Dispenser’?

There are so many answers to this question it drives me absolutely crazy. I’m going to start this by explaining what it meant when I started, back in 2002. Back then, an Optical Dispenser- also an Optical Mechanic- was trained, and qualified to a National Standard. I did my qualification through RMIT University in Melbourne and it covered everything from the Science of the eye, Science of light and reflection/refraction, lens materials, basic Optometry and terminology, Retail, Sales, Practice management, How to repair glasses, make frames, hand edge (grind) lenses into a frame, lens tinting…..I could go on forever. This course was not brand or store specific – it was Industry specific. I was proud to be called a qualified Optical Dispenser and Mechanic.

These days things are different. It is not essential that you have this qualification to work in a similar position in an Optical practice. People can come from anywhere, be trained by someone they work with and then refer to themselves as an Optical Dispenser. This isn’t the place to say what’s right or wrong etc but I think consumers have the right to know when they are being assisted by someone that is qualified in their field, or not. There is a huge difference, and I know I’d sure like to know. This change started about the time that a certain very large budget chain of eyewear stores opened in Australia approximately 15 years ago. Due to their need for a lot of staff on the floor, they created their own ‘training’ package and that became acceptable. The problem being, that because this training was internal, it was not regulated and only taught employees what the company needed them to know to sell THEIR products. Over the years I have worked with a fair few people who started out with one of these courses, walking into a role in an Independent Practice thinking that they knew what they were doing. Most of them looked extremely shell-shocked by the end of the day and confused about what they had been led to believe about the industry. It really is a big world out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are fully qualified Dispensers working at some of these chains as well, assisting new starters and sharing their experiences and knowledge, which is great. But that doesn’t mean working in one chain store with minimal industry exposure is going to set a person up as the equivalent of a qualified Dispenser/Mechanic.

img_4123

A very general idea of what an Optical Dispenser actually does

Lets take a quick look at the day-to-day role of an Optical Dispenser in Australia. Most of us start the day by getting into work early to make sure the store is looking amazing, review the patients for the day ahead, and ensure all equipment is ready for the Optometrist. We do reception roles like banking, dealing with Medicare, Health Funds and Institutions along with customer bookings, payments and repairs. When a patient comes out of an Eye exam, we discuss with them the results from the Optometrist and make sure they understand the recommendations, as well as making sure it will cover their needs. We help with frame and lens selection which can take anywhere from 5 mins up to 5 days or longer in some cases. We do repairs on the spot. We quote for bigger technical repairs and organise couriers. We liaise with the lens manufacturers about stock, lens quality issues, and prescriptions. We discuss outcomes with the Optometrists to make sure the recommendations and outcomes are the best for every single patient. We assist with health issues and emergencies which can be anything from detached retinas, foreign objects stuck in the eye, stuck contact lenses- you name it, we’ve seen it! We help with Sunglass selection for prescription, or sports performance, and spend hours helping families select a child’s first pair of glasses, especially if they are special needs or do not like the idea of wearing them!img_0368

Believe me, this is an extremely short list. Every time I read this, I come up with another 3-4 things we do on a daily basis, but I can’t write them all or we’ll be here for days! So on top of all of this, we get to be an ear for a lonely senior, a shoulder to cry on for someone that has nowhere else to turn. We – especially females- cop a lot of comments about being a ‘receptionist’, and asking where the ‘male boss’ is by generations that don’t know any different.

What it really means to be an Optical Dispenser

And through all of this we smile. We take a few deep breathes (in my case, eat chocolate) and get back out there with a spring in our step ready to help the next person. Why you ask? Because we are making an actual difference to these people’s lives. We are helping them with our most important sense. We love our job because we cover so many areas it is never boring. We are always learning about new technologies and developments in Eye care and health. We are excited by positive outcomes of solutions we create for our customers and surgeries that improve a patient’s vision. We get excited when we see a frame rep with new models of eyewear that we can show our customers, and can’t wait to call people when their glasses are ready so they can show them off.

It’s not an easy job, but I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. This qualification has led me to many different opportunities over the years including fashion events, Sales repping, International work and experiences, training, meeting some amazing life-long friends and helping me wake up with a purpose every single day.

The Australian Optical Industry is evolving

What our industry needs now is new blood. We need new go-getters with a passion and drive to exceed where others won’t even think of looking. We need people that want to help people and make a difference to the elite athlete, the 70 year old with cataracts and your next door neighbour who just started school. We are the ones that get to have fun with our customers and build long term relationships. I often get asked why I haven’t gone into Optometry and I always answer the same – that I’d miss having fun out on the floor with my customers! The best people in this role can read customers well and quickly and adapt themselves to any situation. They have an interest in constant learning and an eye for fashion.

img_7518Independent Optometry practices are always looking for that next special person to bring into our industry. Independent Optometry practices are the best places to learn because you will be shown the knowledge based on the Industry, not just a brand. They have time to invest in you and genuinely want you to enjoy your work. They care for their customers and staff like family, as this role does take a lot of you into it, but you also get a lot out. If you’re interested in seeing what this role entails, drop into your local Independent practice and ask if you can make a time to talk to them about it.

Sometimes we have to read, be told or run accidently into something to see that it’s a path worth pursuing. Let me tell you that if you’re still reading this now and are looking for a change, THIS IS YOUR SIGN 😉

PS I was offered the Role at the Real Estate agency as well, but luckily I followed my gut instinct and went into the Optical Industry. And I have never looked back.

Em xox