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

 

 

Your Customers’ Inner Voice

(Side Note: Optical Dispenser is the Australian term for Optician.)

These days

Being an Optical Dispenser in Australia in 2019 is extremely underrated. Not only do we deal with the day to day running of a store, keeping up with changes within the industry, health care policies and procedures, fashion and new products (all fun btw), but we also face the challenge of a rapidly changing customer base. Dispensers need to be constantly aware of what their customers are being exposed to more so than ever before.

The internet has opened up a platform for everyone to be a salesperson now. For example, brands can sell themselves how they want to and the customer you used to talk to about frames now comes in and tells YOU about that very same product.

Whether the information they have gathered is correct or not, doesn’t actually matter to them. The internet has given our customers knowledge, but it’s given them only part of the information they need to make an informed decision about a product. It hasn’t educated them in what could be the right decision for their independent personal needs. It’s ultimately given them power, and put us as dispensers and business owners back a few steps.

 

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Face a Face

Who are we?

In most cases, whether we like to admit it or not, a lot of our customers don’t see Optical Dispensers as professionals anymore, but as salespeople. And in some cases this is true – there are people in our Industry being referred to as ‘Dispensers’ that don’t have any formal or technical training which is making it extremely difficult for those of us who are actually qualified.

Those practices who are lucky enough to have a customer base that’s been built up over the years will find that the trust built over time with this group means they are less likely to be effected. But it’s the new customers that we are all struggling with.

This is not limited to just one group either. It’s the shoppers. The bargain hunters. The fashion conscious. The millennials. The customers that get a tiny bit of information, learn one new word and then call themselves an expert.

So, how do we combat this?

How do we get potential customers to believe that we have their best interests in mind and are not ‘pushing’ or ‘selling’ particular gimmicks like ads online?

  • We have to re-establish our profession.
  • We have to figure out a new way to gain our customers trust.

To do this we need to start by learning to listen again, and we need to speak our customer’ s language and educate them, not just on the products that we recommend for them , but on the overall industry .

None of this is new. I’m not talking rocket science and we have all heard these points before. However, there has been a massive shift over the past 5-10 years in how our customers communicate with dispensers in store, and if we don’t recognise this and act on it now we as an entire industry and going to lose even more footing than we already have.

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Rodenstock special edition publication

The art of listening

So, let’s take a look at how we listen. Obviously, what are they actually saying? They

“…want a black frame, but not that black, the other black with less black detail, like that one, but do you have any blacker?”

We’ve all had a customer like this – So. Much. Fun.

We need to keep our customers talking until we are both on the same page. Giving examples is a great idea, and referencing what they are currently wearing works well. When dispensing optical frames one of the worst things you can do is go straight to the frames to look, as this can be overwhelming to a customer and can confuse what they really want.

Take your time more than ever, and talk before you look at frames.

–       “I love that colourful handbag you have! Are you thinking something with a similar pattern for your new glasses?”

–       “What have you loved about the glasses you’re wearing now?”

–       “ We have a lot of black frames in stock, let’s try to get a little more specific with the shape and detailing you prefer before we try too many on”.

 

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Wearing: Vanni

Talk their talk

If you have listened to your potential customer effectively, you should have an idea now of what they want their outcome to be, why and what kind of communicator they are. Talking to a customer about what you recommend based on what they have worn before, or what the Optometrist suggested is no longer enough. (Sorry to all the Optoms out there!)

Basically, we are all starting with the image of being overpriced, no matter what we actually have to offer, so we need to break this thought pattern right from the first moment our customer walks in. So, how do we communicate with new customers effectively? We need to mimic their body language so they feel comfortable. We need to use terminology that resonates with them- which you should have picked up by listening to them. Most importantly: we need to be able to communicate VALUE.

Let’s use first time wearers as an example. Chances are they haven’t looked online in too much depth as yet because they’re still in that headspace of ‘it’ll never happen to me’.

So you’ve built up a great relationship with them, they’re nodding their head at all the right times, you’ve made sure they understand what their glasses will be for *Nodding head*

The coating the optometrist recommended  *Nodding head*

Are they happy with the frame they’ve selected which happened to be the second one because it’s one of our best sellers and it’s black and you made sure it fits them *Nodding head*

Unfortunately, despite their head nodding, you’ve lost them. They may keep the purchase this time, but chances are they will now google ‘their glasses ‘ or what looks similar to them depending on how well you have explained their product to them, and find that they’re online somewhere else for half the price. Or their friend will say “Why did you go there? I got two pair for half that price at _____.” So that customer will likely not come back. Why not?

Because you’ve fixed a problem they didn’t know they had, not created value in something they need.

 

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Rye and Lye Sunglasses

The inner voice

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation, and what your customer is likely thinking, vs saying.

  • You start by saying ‘Right, let’s look at getting your new reading glasses selected’.

They think:  ‘I don’t read a lot, maybe I could get them from the Chemist’

  • When discussing photochromic options, you explain there is an extra charge to consider for this lens type

They think: ‘I’m sure Judy said she got two pairs for less than this frame costs alone’.

  • You say that you will include blue control coating the Optometrist suggested in the quote

They hear: ‘Optometrist suggested…blue lenses?’

  • They nod their head when you ask if they’re happy with the selected frame

They think: ‘I have absolutely no idea about what looks good and I hate people looking at me, I’m just going to say yes so I can get out of here…’

Explanation is key, and getting your timing right supports this. You need to take the time to:

  • Explain the reasons a frame does or does not fit
  • The bridge fit and type
  • The pro’s and con’s of the frame materials
  • Honest feedback on frame colours against different skin tones
  • Exactly WHY what you are recommend will be better than the things that caused issues for the customer than their last pair.

Trust is everything. The more you can demonstrate knowledge and explain it to your customer in a way they can apply it to their life, the more trusting they will be of you and your advice. If we give our customers information, specific to their lifestyle and along the lines of what they have communicated is important to THEM, we are creating value in ourselves as Dispensers, and of our recommendations.  Then give them a choice.

 

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Koali by Morel

Your customer’s choice

Offering a choice in today’s market is easily the best way to close a sale. If you have done all of your preparation correctly, in reading the customer and conveying value to them in a way that they understand, you won’t lose anything by letting them choose.

Offer them their ‘Customised’ option, and then a ‘Basic’ option, which could be a more basic lens design, with or without lens coatings etc. This will make them realise that although you have been discussing a premium product, you have options for them and they are in control. This is what is most likely to get you a return customer, which is what is important in the long run. When your customer then finds similar frames or options for less, be it online, through friends on general advertising, they know that they chose value over price.

 

Wearing: Face a Face

Be proud of your passion!

We don’t want to compete with cheap online sales, or money hungry corporate chains. We put our own blood, sweat and tears into creating a business in this industry because we actually care. We want to help people.

The one thing independent practices have over all of the corporate groups is our ability to connect with our customers and actually get an outcome for them which is both what they want, AND what they need. We are flexible, we have time, and we can customise their experience from beginning to end in a way no online sale or corporate machine can.

We are all in this industry and in our jobs because our customers matter to us. Quality matters to us. Premium vision care matters, and at the end of the day all we want is for our customers to leave our stores being happy and confident with their outcome, no matter what it is.

We just need to speak their language so they see that too.

M.

 

For more information on any of the above points, please email me at

theeyeweargirl@gmail.com

Time to talk PD’s

If you do know what a PD is, you probably know where I’m going with this. If you don’t, it’s VERY important that you keep reading!

Let me start by saying,

  • If you don’t know what PD stands for
  • If you’ve never had this measurement taken professionally before
  • If you actually care about the health of not only you eyes but your wellbeing too…

GO TO YOUR OPTOMETRIST OR QUALIFIED DISPENSER/ OPTICIAN!!!

PD stands for Pupil Distance (pupillary distance), the distance in mm between both of your pupils. You will have a slightly different PD for each different focal point, and there is no such things as a ‘standard’ PD. Getting this measurement incorrect CAN potentially cause issues with your eyes, cause headaches and complicate future prescriptions.

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Pupilometer

At least a few times every week I hear stories or meet people who are having problems with glasses they have purchased online, and most of these issues end up relating back to the wrong PD being either measured, or made up incorrectly in the glasses.

Wearing the wrong PD will mostly feel like your eyes are ‘pulling’ either to the left or right, and essentially this is what is happening. This creates what we call ‘prism’ in your lens, and is sometimes used to try and correct a turned eye. You can image how this could be damaging to you if you are wearing lenses like this unnecessarily.

Now some people will say that I’m being a little overdramatic, and in some cases that is true, some prescriptions will tolerate a certain amount of ‘error’ without effecting your vision or health of your eyes, but I just know personally, I wouldn’t want to do that to my eyes.img_4130

Glasses are first and foremost for your HEALTH. Yes we enjoy the fashion side of them, but in all seriousness, your lenses are the most important part of any purchase. If you actually care about your eyes it is always worth visiting your Eyecare professionals in person to ensure all of the measurements are taken and manufactured exactly as prescribed.

Eyewear: Vanni Eyewear

M.

Where to start when looking for new Eyewear

One of the most common questions I get asked by people who need a new frame is:
“Where do I start?”
as their terrified faces scan the walls of frames in front of them.
What annoys me is when some salespeople/ dispensers/ opticians at this point, head straight to the frames and THEY start picking options from the shelf for the customer to try. Have they known you for more than 5 mins? Do they know what you think to yourself every time you put your frames on in the morning? I somehow doubt it.

The truth is, where you should actually start is nowhere near the frame wall.

You should start with selecting the right practice for you. Do they have reputable staff? Do they offer products that align with your needs? Were you happy with the outcome and service last time? Do you feel like you’re being listened to?

Once you’re in store, and happy with your eye test, the next step still isn’t frames. 4bef04df-409f-4cfb-a60f-60f2787332c2

Next, you should be discussing the outcome of your eye exam with whoever is going to be assisting you with your purchase eg sales staff, dispenser, optician or in some stores the Optometrist. They should be asking you questions about your understanding of the prescription, and your lens options ( if this wasn’t part of your exam).

They should also ask you about your previous glasses and experiences to get an understanding of what YOU like/ don’t like.
– What did you like about your last glasses?
– Were the frames comfortable?
– Did you have any issues adapting to your lenses?
– Tell me about what you want your new frames to say about YOU.

Now, I know I’m a perfectionist when it comes to helping people select new frames. You’re also not going to get this kind of service everywhere.

What I’m trying to point out, is that these are the sorts of things that SHOULD be considered when purchasing new glasses (this is a very short example for now).

NOW it’s time to start trying on frames.
If you consider and understand the above points first, the frame selection process will be a lot less daunting.
You are also far more likely to end up with a look that you LOVE  .

So, next time you’re looking for new specs, take your time.
Understand what your money is going towards, and what your options are.

BOTTOM LINE: Always ask questions

M.