Enhance your style with RAEN

The Raen customer is not a trendsetter. They’re not looking at fashion sites, or stressing over how many likes or followers they have on Instagram. The Raen customer is outside enjoying life. They’re exploring, laughing, creating and being uniquely themselves. They’re the type of people that always look stylish because they are true to themselves. Trends will come and go, but true style will always win.

Raen are all about the Californian lifestyle – which correlates to the way we enjoy the outdoors here in Australia. Sunshine, fresh air, and nature have inspired the Raen collection, which focuses on creating pieces that are ‘inspired by the classics, handmade for today’.

With both sun and optical options for men and women, the overall feel of the collection is minimalist, understated style. This range is not designed to stand out, but more to compliment the wearers own unique personality. With frames made from premium quality Acetates and metals, and lenses made by Zeiss (industry leaders), a purchase form Raen is one that you know is going to last.

The current collection features vintage shaped metal frames, and the classic styling of golden honey acetates in rounded medium size shapes that appeal to all. What I really like about this collection is the quality in simplicity. The designs have beautiful smooth lines and are all extremely comfortable to wear. All models have the ability to have prescription lenses into them, making the Raen collection a true dual purpose option. The use of classic tortoiseshell, black and pastel crystal acetates will appeal to a large range of wearers, who are after eyewear that they love now and will for a long time yet.

If you’re after a range that guarantees value for money and a look that will work with your unique personality, this is a range well worth investigating.

To find out more, visit raen.com
The Eyewear Girl xo

 

 

The Eyewear Girl: Australian Eyewear Advocate

Say the word ‘Influencer’ and you get a very mixed reaction from almost every audience. The most well known type of influencer is a fashion or travel influencer, who you see sharing stunning pictures every day in the world’s most exotic places, and wearing the latest fashion trends and making their pages look like a dream. Generally, Influencers are given products or services to promote on their social media pages. The more followers, comments and likes they get on each post raises their profile to online marketers, making them more attractive to companies wanting to promote their products. It’s kind of like a popularity contest; those with the most unique profiles or have something unique to offer do really well. Influencers make their money by the amount of business they create around the products or services they are promoting. For example, clicking a link from a bloggers page to a product website, using a discount code form an influencers page when you purchase something, following a brand on the recommendation of an influencer etc. These are all traceable KPI’s for an influencer paid by the companies that own the product or service and some have made a fantastic living out of it over time.

This is very much not me.

 

The Eyewear Girl only started in Jan 2019, so I’m still in the building stage – however things are going so much better than I expected it won’t be long before I’m aiming for even bigger platforms. But ‘influencer’? Not sure it sits that well with me, I feel like more of an ‘Advocate’, but the term influencer is hot right now and internationally, people know what you mean. So, let’s get real. A lot of people over the last month have asked me what I actually do. I am just a normal person working a full time job to pay the bills. That being said, I  LOVE the industry and am obsessed with eyewear so my passion runs a lot deeper than a ‘job’; It’s part of who I am.

So, why become an  ‘Influencer’?

Anyone in the Optical Industry knows the last 5-10 years have been incredibly tough for the Independent practice. Many have closed, many fight to stay open, others have been forced to hone in on their niche and refused to be pushed around. Not only have optical chains have taken over our shopping strips, our shopping centres, and a percentage of our independent stores, but also the advertising marketplace Australia wide. Possibly the hardest thing over this time period for Independent practice owners is that the end consumer generally has no idea what has been happening to our industry and what effect it has on them.

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Our Independent practices have had their values questioned, quality products branded as ‘over priced’, and professional identity stolen. Any one of these things could be a tough blow on any business, but all three together is an absolute nightmare.

With the mass media introduction of ‘packages’, ‘designer brands’ and ‘premium lenses’ being advertised EVERYWHERE for AUD$199 or similar, it’s ridiculous to think that the end consumer wouldn’t take notice. And so they should: that is a massive price difference from the premium lens and frame package you would get at an independent practice. WE know why – the customer doesn’t.

Those of us in stores have been forced to explain to our customers the difference in quality, that the words ‘designer brands’ have a lot of different meanings and that premium lenses at each business can mean something completely different. Some customers are happy to ask, listen and take on board the discussion seriously. A large amount of them nod their heads, but are thinking to themselves ‘ this is just an overpriced business trying to rip me off’. The newer generations go online and don’t even hesitate; they are more likely to go with what they like the look and price of without being too concerned about where the product comes from. This is what shopping in 2019 is. (PS sorry for the generalisations, but, you see my point.)

So, what does the Independent practice need to do to stay afloat? They need to know their identity and stick to it unapologetically. They need to sell value rather than brands, service over gimmicks and create relationships rather than the sale of one pair of glasses.

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I realised just how bad the situation was when my own friends and family were spending large amounts of money on eyewear but had absolutely no idea what they had just paid for. I found quotes for lenses with all kinds of extras including Multicoats, Photochromic material, High index materials and the like NOT split out on the quote – customers are being told that this one price (including everything- whether they want it or not) is what is ‘recommended’ for them. Over a 6 month period of investigating this, I found that a lot of these quotes were not from Independents, but unfortunately, SOME were.

Have we as an overall industry given up caring? Are we under-trained? Have we lost the ability to put customer care first? Whatever it is, our customers deserve better. They deserve to know what their options are. To be given thorough and correct information about their vision needs. They deserve to know exactly what they are paying for and why.

THIS is why I started The Eyewear Girl.

I wanted to build a platform for shoppers to see what options they actually have when it comes to eyewear. I wanted to elevate the independent practice again by highlighting the quality and value in good quality products and services. I wanted to build a space where consumers can be inspired to ask whatever questions they have about eyewear, or anything in optics where they know they will get a completely honest and unbiased answer.

And I am so happy to say it has worked. In The Eyewear Girls short lifetime I have created a platform where consumers and dispensers alike are learning about each other. People are wanting to learn more and are reaching out to understand our industry. Consumers are gaining confidence in loving eyewear and appreciating value in quality products over budget ‘fast-fashion’ chain stores. Don’t get me wrong, I actually believe there is a need for both at some level, but the public has a right to make an educated decision on what THEY value in their eyecare.

Across all of my platforms which include Instagram, Facebook and my website, my main goals are these:

–          To show off the beautiful products we have available in our country.

–          Explain and educate value in quality products, service and pricing.

–          To be an independent advocate for the Independent Eyewear Industry.

I value quality eyecare and eyewear because I have seen the differences from both sides of the coin. From the front of stores, to marketing and wholesale, I can explain the whole story. I educate by using my own images, tips, trends tech info, blogs, stories and full articles covering everything a consumer could want to know. And it’s fun! I love creating excitement and energy around anything that promotes good health.

I’m working with wholesalers to showcase their products to a wider audience. This gives their brand more recognition and exposure. I’m also working with practices to upskill their staff on high-end sales, dispensing lenses, relationships with customers and negotiating negative feedback. But, possibly the most important thing I’m doing is being a neutral face for the end consumer to be inspired, learn, ask questions and re-gain confidence in the independent practice.

The more exposure I get to brands and products, events, stores and the world of optics in general, the more detailed my information and platform can be and the more we all learn how best to move this industry forward. I am constantly looking for brands and wholesalers to work with. In the very near future I will be available for store VIP events as a ‘style consultant’ which will add another level to these promotions. I’m always interested in public speaking and corporate events and will be moving into training opportunities moving forward.

How can you help?

–          If you’re a wholesaler reach out – let’s talk.

–          If you’re a store, send me a message about your particular issues and eyewear needs, whatever they are.

–          If you’re a customer, be open and willing to learn and give honest feedback.

Because this is essentially an online business, engagement really matters. Every single like, comment, follow and share makes a huge difference to the exposure I get worldwide at the end of the day. So please share and tag as much as you like! If you’re ever not sure how, just shoot me a message.

So what does being an ‘influencer’ actually mean? It’s different for every person. I just want to share my love and passion for beautiful eyewear, and hopefully inspire consumers and dispensers alike to get excited about the options and opportunities out there in the Optical world.

The Eyewear Girl x

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Titanium Frames

When purchasing eyewear there are many things to consider. Size, style, colour and comfort just to name a few. The materials the frames are made from have a huge impact on not only the design, but also the fit and weight of the frame. Today we are going to take a quick look at the benefits of titanium in frame design, vs other metal options.

The most common metal frame materials across the industry are titanium, nickel alloy, stainless steel, zinc, copper, beryllium, silver and gold. The easiest ones to find in store are Nickel alloy and titanium. Copper, Gold and Silver frames are not as easily sourced, due to their price. Beryllium frames are lightweight and fairly erosion-proof, however have large limitations on design. Stainless steel frames are definitely around but have many colour limitations so are not exactly ‘fashionable’ a lot of the time. And zinc….I’ve never actually found or sold a zinc frame!

 

 

Nickel alloy frames are easily the most popular. Not because customers look for them specifically, but because they are the most affordable and easily sourced. There are hardly any design or colour restrictions, it works well with most lens styles and can be adjusted to fit different faces easily, without damaging the design – provided the Optical dispenser knows what they are doing 😉 So why the focus on Titanium?

There are two main reasons people search specifically for Titanium frames:

  1. Titanium is a lighter weight material, great for people with sensitivity issues on their nose
  2. Anyone that has a nickel allergy – Titanium is hypo-allergenic.

While there are some limitations on Titanium as a material in terms of design, if you’re after a minimalist classic look you will find a lot to choose from. Designers are branching out with it as a material these days too, trying to push the traditional limits to create interesting pieces made in a more ‘skin’ friendly’ material.

 

Titanium frames are also recommended for anyone working in environments that are likely to make metals rust, as titanium doesn’t corrode.

Of course, being a more premium material, titanium is more expensive than a nickel alloy, although in most cases you will find the warranty on them is longer as well. If you’re allergic to nickel but prefer a minimalist look with your eyewear, I suggest investigating your options thoroughly. Even in the last 12 months I have come across many new brands specialising in titanium ‘fashion’ collections, that are absolutely beautiful.

As always, when investigating eyewear always ask questions. In independent practices, there is a reason why the prices for frames are what they are, the higher prices are usually determined by the handwork, details and also higher quality materials in each design.

The Eyewear Girl x

Avanti Sun

The Brand ‘Avanti’ is very well known across the Australian optical industry as an affordable, colourful and durable option for independent practices. For years it has been on shelves as a respected addition to a stores range, with on trend shapes, a variety of colours and something that a dispenser would not be discouraged from recommending as an entry level option, due to its history of longevity.

I’m not even kidding that my mum still has a pair beside the bed that she purchased over 20 years ago!

At omega19 this year in Melbourne, Directors Mark Wymond and Lisa Wymond along with long time Mod Style Sales Rep Peter Bienvenue  launched their new range, Avanti Sun.

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The Avanti Sun collection consists of 12 models so far, each in three colour ways. They are all easy to fit with prescription lenses, are made of extremely high quality materials, and are at the same price point as their prescription frames. Designed to be an easy second pair or an affordable option for Prescription lens wearers, the reaction to the collection has already been extremely positive.

I was lucky enough to be sent a few samples to play with before the launch and the first thing I noticed was the colour work in the acetate. Bright, fun and modern, the collection has just enough spark about them to appeal to a wide consumer base without being something that will date too quickly. They are extremely comfortable, will easily fit a wide range of prescriptions and of course come with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.

Avanti Sun Binalong
Avanti Sun Binalong

 

I recently caught up with one of the designers, and Sales Representative for the Avanti Sun Range, Peter Bienvenu, to discuss where the range started, and how it’s been received so far.

PB: “We had never had a sunglass collection in Mod style in either Avanti or Eclipse, even though we’ve had the brand for 38 years.

“We wanted to be able to offer a sunglass option that was value for money, but also

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Peter Bienvenu

create a collection that was about style, shape and colour.

“As always, quality is important to us, and the Avanti sun features European Spring hinges and we sourced our Acetates from some of the worlds best acetate manufacturers.

“There is something for everyone in this range, with Ladies fashion styles, Hipster, Aviator and traditional shapes. Another good thing about the collection is that all models are extremely versatile and can appeal to wide age demographic.

“The feedback from OMEGA19 and the wider optical industry has been amazing, we have a lot of support already and are proud of all of our customers’ initial reports. We have more designs planned for the future and plenty of room for growth.”

Mini Moke
Pic courtesy of Lisa Wymond

 

The Avanti Sun Range is designed in Australia by Mark, Lisa and Peter, and they have incorporated some of our iconic beaches in the model names. Bells, Mandalay and Noosa all make an appearance. The Range was launched at OMEGA19 with the help of the iconic Mini Moke, which of course drew plenty of attention. Mod Style have reported that due to the launch of Avanti Sun, it was -unsurprisingly – one of their busiest shows to date.

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Whether you’re looking for a new sunglass for summer, or an affordable quality sun range for your practice, Avanti sun are definitely worth investigating.

For more info:

https://www.modstyle.com.au/collections/avanti-sun

or call

1800 338 812

The Eyewear Girl x

 

Francis Klein -Generational Gems

Are you one of those people that struggles to find that ‘perfect’ frame? Are there never enough embellishments, or details on the frames in store? Then this is one brand you need to look into. With Francis Klein you can select the shape, colour, hand detail and embellishment level on every single piece.

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Francis Klein Wolf Exceptional

Founded by optician Francis Klein and his wife Michèle in 1970, this family business is now run by their two Daughters Dixie and Betty in a Parisian showroom. The girls have developed the brand into a new era for bespoke eyewear, whilst still managing to keep the companies’ morals close to heart; craftsmanship, personalization, elegance and creativity. Better still, they have avoided any mass producing despite how popular they have become, insisting on keeping a small team to personalise each and every frame at a level you just cant get with a large factory. In fact, they are a team of four that customise the eyewear, with specialised skills such as hand engraving, laser drawing, rhinestone placement, 3D element and haute couture jewellery placement. If you’re after customised eyewear with history, this is the range for you.

 

When looking through the collection, the first thing that comes to mind is GLAMOUR. With shapes mirroring those popular from the 1970’s, these frames are more a piece of wearable art rather than just another frame. There is passion, personality and individual style in every single piece.

The details are incredible too. Even at the most basic of their designs, the shapes and colour of the quality acetates are a statement on their own. Moving onto lazer etching and colourful Rhinestones which are hand placed into the acetate frame, your freedom to create your own vision is only just beginning. The team at Francis Klein have so many stunning models for inspiration I honestly am going to struggle to know where to start! When you then look to the options of the metal motives and larger rhinestone embellishments, you are guaranteed a piece that will be a head turner for all of the right reasons. Glamour, style, and originality are all moulded into your very own Francis Klein Frame.

This is not a paid review either. I just really appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into frames like these and want to highlight pure talent in eyewear wherever I get the chance. These frames will not be for everyone, but for those of us who see eyewear as an expression of individual identity and hand made techniques as an art skill, we appreciate the delicate nature of this collection.

I can’t wait to explore this range more, and I hope you get the chance to as well!

The Eyewear Girl x

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Francis Klein Fire B98
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Francis Klein Bolivar B59
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Francis Klein Bow N36

 

 

 

A Rodenstock Rebel

Rodenstock are currently re-inventing themselves.

Successfully.

I was really impressed with their new collections and marketing campaign on show at Omega, they’re definitely not the same Rodenstock I remember.

Rodenstock are focusing their new collections on their heritage- which is extremely rich in design and optical fashion-with an emphasis on vintage detailing, on-trend retro shapes and a colour palette that raises the eye in the right way.

Of course I instantly fell in love with this cats eye model which is available from Aug in Australia. It’s actually optical model R5329 with a grey lens with silver mirror- absolutely stunning.

Beautifully slimline and lightweight to wear, this model is an instant classic for those that love the lift of the iconic 50’s shape. A little Jackie O, a little matrix this is certainly unexpected from Rodenstock.

Another win is that this campaign features the first female model in the history of the companies eyewear marketing. A little late to the party, but better late than never. And it is a truly beautiful campaign.

If you haven’t seen the Rodenstock collection in a while, it might be time to make that call.

The Eyewear Girl x

O=MEGA19 – Australia’s biggest Eyewear show yet

Leading up to O=Mega2019, we were told this was going to be Australia’s biggest eyewear event ever. And they weren’t wrong. From opening on the Friday, there was a real buzz of excitement that has been missing from the Australian Industry for quite a while. With a record breaking number of exhibitors as well as attendees, feedback amongst both groups was extremely positive.

This is the first time that the Australian Board of Optometry and ODMA have teamed up to create a joint weekend, where Optometrists could attend lectures and get their CPD points, as well as attend the trade show which was all held in the new area of the Melbourne convention centre. It was great to see so many more Optometrists and store owners in attendance than at past shows.

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At Fritz Frames

A standout for me was the new exhibitors; so many faces we haven’t seen before – or at least in a very long time. Amongst these were Fritz Frames, Ryan Adda, AM Eyewear, Aaron’s Eyewear, Eye Candy Optics, Raen and Quay Australia just to name a few. The larger wholesalers were all there too putting on a show with their beautifully laid out stands including Eyes Right Optical, Matrix, De Rigo, Frames Etc, Mimo, Maui Jim and Hoya.

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Part of the new Furla collection from DeRigo

 

The stand at LBJ Optical was an absolute stunner, and it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when they won the award for best small to medium stand. With an antique green and gold plush lounge setup, their collections were presented in a way that just oozed sophistication and glamour. The taxidermy animals sure were a talking point for most people who attended over the three days.

 

Exciting new brands were launched, with two highly anticipated sunglass ranges being a focus. Van Staveren launched their range COVE, which is a women’s fashion sunglass range retailing at $199.00. All models are prescription-ready, but come standard with polarised lenses which has before now been a massive gap in our ranges. Also to launch over the weekend was the Avanti Sunglass range. This is an entirely new venture for the Mod Style company and they had very positive feedback.

 

There were lectures, masterclasses, window dressing shows and meet and greet times happening all weekend, which meant everyone was kept extremely busy. Most feet are now still recovering! I only had the chance to attend one lecture, which was the Optical Dispenser Forum on the Saturday morning. It was extremely positive to see a full room, with more seating needing to be added. Overall the mood was a little wary, but positive. The entire industry is pushing for more training options and memberships to the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association from all angles, which is an extremely positive step for all of us Dispensers out here. More on this topic will be available soon.

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Bausch and Lomb main stage in the Trade Hall

 

The Eyewear on display was absolutely stunning. Australia is putting its own stamp on European trends and creating products that appeal to the quirky, unique, the colourful and the bold in more ways than we have ever seen before. Major trends were pastel colours, Crystal acetates, Mirrored sunglass lenses, intricate metal work and hexagonal shapes. Even though the show was smaller than our European and American counter-parts, Omega packed a whole lot of punch into the variety of brands and products featured. There were international designers to meet and discuss products including Esteemed American Eyewear Designer Gai Gherardi at Pro-Optics, and Denis Bellone, the Creative Director of Morel Eyewear who held VIP Masterclasses at the Eyes Right Optical stand. Many companies had some beautiful and limited edition collections on show, including a Sunglass Shield from Porsche eyewear and clear / rainbow Perspex collection from Silhouette at Mimo Eyewear, which won the design for Best frame design. Attendees were excited about the new colours and shapes coming through that feel to have been missing from our shores for far too long. Customers are starting to embrace their unique personalities more than ever before, and Eyewear is seen as fun purchase, rather than a chore for many end consumers.

 

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Award Winning Silhouette Frames at MIMO Eyewear

Feedback from exhibitors was also very positive, with some saying they had the most productive Australian show ever – after only one day! There were a lot of new relationships built, new accounts opened and old friends caught up with over a few champagnes after a long 3 days.

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Limited edition shield by Porsche Eyewear at Mattix

 

Here’s to hoping that we can keep this energy going and breathe some more life into our Industry. There is a lot of passion still out there, which has been partly hidden by frustration for too long. If O=MEGA19 was anything to go by, we are re-starting our engines and getting ready to fire. Independents are making a stand to be exactly that – Independent with service, frame ranges and their ability to customise their customers’ experience. With all we have on offer in Australian Optics, there is a lot to look forward to in the future.

The only down side, is that we now have to wait another 2 years for the next show!

 

The Eyewear Girl x