Dear Ms. Specs in the City,

My optical dispensary and I have fallen into a rut. Do you have any ideas to jazz it up?

Please advise,
Bored in Baltimore​

Dear Bored in Baltimore,
Ms. Specs knows all too well that one can fall into a rut—with hairdressers/barbers, lovers/relationships and yes, even our optical dispensaries.

The most important thing to remember is that we always have access to the refresh button. First, try to capture the ideas and feelings you had when you first opened your optical dispensary. Remember the excitement and the glow that you experienced? How did it look? How did it sound? How did it feel? Were there subtle fresh fragrances to stimulate all the senses? And the stars of the show: How about the frame displays and merchandising? Ms. Specs highly recommends that you bring a fresh set of eyes to your optical dispensary. Even though we pretend that we can walk back into our optical dispensary with “fresh eyes,” Ms. Specs would suggest that it is almost impossible. It is very hard to take off our subjective optical hat and put on our objective non-optical hat. Consider asking a non-optical friend/neighbor or hire a consultant. A small investment can go a long way.

Years ago, I had the unique opportunity to manage Lugene Opticians in Boston’s Copley Place. We dispensed eyewear up to $7,000 to $8,000 dollars apiece: jewels, gold, buffalo horn, exotic woods and other extraordinary embellishments. We also dispensed beautiful colorful acetates. Instead of displaying our frames by manufacturer, we displayed them by color. When our patients walked into our space, they saw pops of color everywhere. The red frames with red, blues with blues, black and white frames together, channeling the “White House Black Market” groupies. By doing so, the colors “exploded,” and it was a delight to the eye (pun intended).

This was in the mid-to-late 1980s when the ophthalmic fashion world was all about colorful acetates and adorned rimless/facets. Well, guess what… one thing we know for sure about fashion is… yes, it always repeats itself. Today, we are enjoying a replay of fun, fabulous colorful acetates in interesting patterns with very large eye sizes. And fun facets with (yes, I am going to say it)… blue to rose gradient tints! A throwback to the ’80s. Ms. Specs could not be happier!

And let’s always remember that exquisite manners are always in style. Channeling Judith Martin’s book: Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior is my go-to. She has a wonderful way of navigating through life’s social quandaries in a fun, tongue-in-cheek kind of way. Ms. Specs wants us all to remember: Even when the patient exclaims that they have “the stigma” (astigmatism) or want the “transitional lenses” (progressives), this is their first time. We must always be compassionate and gentle.

Getting back to your rut: Let’s talk about sound. The music in the optical dispensary declares the mood. At Lugene Opticians, we stuck to the classics: Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, only instrumentals, no vocals, as to not be a distraction to our conversation about eyewear.

Eye Candy Optical

In contrast, my dear friends at Eye Candy Optical in Cleveland, Ohio are Optical Rock Stars (one for real!) and have fun party music playing in the background. The optical dispensary looks like a tricked-out glamourous, yet edgy showcase of state-of-the-art everything—a new way to make the experience technically state of the art and FUN.

In closing: Our patients want to feel like Rock Stars! Let’s refurbish our optical dispensaries and our attitudes, and give our valued patients what they really want: Specs-Appeal!

See Well and Be Well,
Ms. Specs in the City
Laurie Pierce, ABOM

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