The vision industry's popular magazine and website, INVISION, offers informative, inspiring and fun podcasts related to eyecare and optical retail.
INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 14): Tamra Asmuth of One Hip Chic
Our guest is Tamra Asmuth, owner of One Hip Chic in Rochester, NY, and the first place winner of INVISION’s 2020 America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest. Tamra shares her own professional history prior to opening One Hip Chic, including schooling for computer programing when she got a job at Sterling Optical, and goes on to explain how she fell in love with the optical industry and after an apprenticeship got her license as an ophthalmic dispenser. “I loved the thought of totally changing a person’s look through their eyewear,” she says, “And I am still a fan of a good makeover. I loved helping people to see their best.” Around 4:00 minutes, she describes how the idea for On Hip Chic came about. “I think that nearly everyone who works for someone else has their own ideas about how they’d run the business. So, I guess that’s where it started for me… I’d imagine the product I’d sell, the décor, the vibe of my shop. How I’d treat customers and I guess eventually I just realized that things don’t just happen on their own; which is a good life lesson. You have to make them happen. Dreaming is where it starts but execution is really imperative.” She goes on to explain what One Hip Chic Optical is (5:30 mins) and at 6:10 she describes her life – and subsequently her business’s – motto: Nothing Ordinary. Seven minutes in Tamra discusses her product mix and selection, as well as her average ticket price and average sale. Then the two go on to discuss location, location, location and how One Hip Chic fits into the Rochester community (9:00 mins), but that she has customers in nearly every state, and how she communicates authentically for her business within her artistic community. Tamra shares she is a really big fan of a business plan and her #1 piece of advice for others is have a business plan. Hers took her 9 months and she explains everything that went into it (11:30 mins) “My business plan for the first five years was my bible.” Half way through the episode, she explains when she follows her gut versus when she relies on her numbers. Then the two discuss what really sets her optical shop apart… the business her optical boutique shares space with. “Since the beginning of One Hip Chic I have treated my business as retail and eyeglasses as function art. So, a few years ago I felt like I really wanted to expand my brand. I wanted to grow into another market and I had the idea that the other market would also be a functional accessory that was a piece of art. So I thought of shoes.” She describes how she went about expanding her business and how she researched the business to open her “sister store” Sole by One Hip Chic. Then the two discuss the renovation of the new space One Hip Chic moved to in 2017 and how that affected her and the business (18:00 min). Next the two discuss One Hip Chic’s deeply committed staff … Tamra’s adult children. “I love my staff, literally.” They address the current global health environment and how it’s affected the business (21:00 mins). Tamra describes some of the changes she has made — including a clever sidewalk A-frame sign — and how thankfully, her business is still faring well and the nimbleness of being a solo entrepreneur. The two finish with Tamra’s words of advice, her reliance on “calculated risk,” when to take that leap of faith, and what she might have done different… it’s a fun one (26:20)!
INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 13): Dibby Bartlett of the Optician’s Association of America
In this episode, Dee speaks with the president of the Optician’s Association of America, Dibby Bartlett. Dibby is a 40-year veteran of the optical industry having held various positions from optician to optical manager to marketing manager. She is currently Chief Operating Officer of Todd Rogers Eyewear and a director in the Opticians Association of Massachusetts, as well as president of the OAA.
Around 8:10, Diddy outlines all the things the OAA does for American opticians, whether they are members of the organization or not. It is an extensive list, including a tool chest of branding “goodies” to help opticians teach people about what it is they do and the invaluable services they provide to combat opticianry’s “serious PR problem.”At 11:30, she discusses all the various ways they work with other industry organizations to help support the message of the importance of quality eyecare. “Right now, the number one goal of the OAA is to help the consumer understand what we do,” she shares. “When the consumer understands what an optician is, and does, as well as they do a pharmacist, it will solve an awful lot of ills for our profession.” (14:15) She goes on to discuss the importance of state associations, ways the OAA supports them, and how the OAA is working on easing mobility from state to state for opticians. At 22:45, Diddy share the OAA’s stance on state licensure … and yes, you need to tune in to hear it and their reasons why.Then we get into the hot topic of pay, and what opticians should be making (26:00), before discussing any requirements to join the OAA. Short story: there are none. “We welcome any and all opticians to be a member of our organization,” confirms Diddy.We briefly discuss the challenges facing opticians during the COVID-19 crisis and how Dibby sees opticianry bouncing back, “Opticians are necessary and an important part of the medical community.” (31:00) And the OAA is offering resources for opticians seeking information to help navigate the ongoing coronavirus crisis; Dibby outlines the extensive list available. (34:00)To learn more about the OAA, sign up for their newsletter, or get more involved in the organization, visit oaa.org.
INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 12): Drs. Adam Ramsey and Darryl Glover
In this episode, Dee speaks with two ODs well-known to the INVISION audience. Dr. Adam Ramsey and Dr. Daryl Glover have both established themselves as industry thought leaders and in this episode the three discuss their latest joint venture, Black EyeCare Perspective (www.blackeyecareperspective.com), an online community they founded to facilitate open and authentic dialogue surrounding implicit bias, organizational structure, diversity and inclusion in the eyecare industry.
They start with a run through of the various eyecare practices, and other business ventures, Drs. Ramsey and Glover own or run. At 12:00, they discuss their own experience running businesses with a diverse set of models and clientele to set the stage for their later discussion about industry inclusivity. Then around 20:30, they begin their discussion of Black EyeCare Perspective, why they founded it and what they are hoping to accomplish with the platform, including the lack of black representation in industry in clinical and executive roles, as well merchandising for black consumers (21:20) and how the eyecare industry can better recruit black ECPs and better address the black patient/consumer needs in eyecare (22:30). “We wanted to create an environment that is inclusive and recognizes the importance of diversity in the eyecare industry,” explains Dr. Glover.
He goes on to explain Black EyeCare Perspective’s three pronged approach at 23:00. 1. Address the biases in the eyecare industry. 2. Help ECPs and companies remain relevant in a constantly changing cultural landscape. 3. Facilitate better dialogue between non-minority eyecare professionals and minority patients in the eyecare setting.
“Darryl and I want to add a different perspective to how we can actually engage these groups of eyecare professionals and how companies can engage African-American and minority patients in a way to get their brand message across and do a better job of connecting with these patients to get better access to care and use their products more effectively,” shares Dr. Ramsey.
At 27:15, they acknowledge the great work the National Optometric Organization and other high profile minority industry leaders have already done and how they just want to build upon that progress to continue to grow the profession. Around 30:30, they discuss the entrepreneurial spirit of many black ECPs but go on to say the goal is to see more of them in management, at board tables, on advisory boards and speaker panels to address proper representation.
At 34:00, they address the sensitivity many people feel in addressing and discussing race and their hope that they can encourage people to have those conversations to better serve the end consumer through diverse product testing, merchandising and retail mix.
“This is for everyone. We’re trying to change the game of optometry,” says Dr. Glover. “If this demographic is catered to, if we’re able to give them the resources, if were able to prescribe properly, it’s going to increase the bottom line for everyone. Everyone wins.” (42:00)
INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 11): Mark Hinton of eYeFacilitate
This month, Dee chats with a 30-year opticianry and management veteran, a retailer, business owner, educator and coach, Mark Hinton. In addition to managing the optical in a private practice he co-owns with his OD partner, Mark runs the training and coaching consultancy eYeFacilitate.
To start, Mark goes deep into his own optical experience and history (2:00), as well as his philosophy on running an eyecare business. At 3:40, he shows the proof is in the pudding and confirms he practices what he preaches at his own business to highly successful ends. He talks about the #1 challenge independent practioners are facing in their dispensaries at 4:00 and the optician as salesperson challenge. Dee and Mark then riff on the customer perception of the high cost of glasses … when lenses tend to be the pricier item (6:00) and ways to communicate that to the patient, including high definition screen analogies. Which leads them to the importance of the doctor in the dialogue (7:30) and how to get them to prescribe better in the exam room.
Mark is a huge proponent in how words matter and at 9:00 he explains how changes in wording can remove patient objections by changing the idea of selling to them to fulfilling a prescription. Around 11:00, they discuss the importance of the doctor elevating the expertise of the optician to complete the exam process. At 13:00, he goes into the words you should ban from your business, the ones NO team member should utter to a patient, and sadly they are used all too often and stop people from purchasing. Shortly after, he talks about the biggest marketing opportunity most eyecare businesses miss. It’s an idea listeners can immediately take and run with. At 17:00, Mark provide the exact script ECPs should be using to increase their retinal image capture rate to over 90%.
At 21:00, Dee asks Mark what are the top three areas that business owners should focus on to immediately improve their performance. Mark hits on the importance of focus groups for your business, how to pull one off and who to include (23:30). To wrap up, Mark talks about what his columns for INVISION will cover throughout the year … and yes, he will go into more details on some of the ideas shared in the podcast. “These columns are gonna be really to make people think differently. To get people to think beyond the status quo,” he promises. “And getting people a little out of their comfort zone.”
INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 10): Trudi Charest of 4ECPs
In this episode of INVISION with Dee Carroll, brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens, Dee talks with the co-founder of 4ECPs and the EyeInnovate conference, Trudi Charest.
First Trudi gives a little info on her personal background, including her family’s optical heritage, working as an optician in retail, a sales rep for B+L and Optos, and training and producing live events, and how her company 4ECPs was founded with partner Kevin Wilhelm due to a lack of available marketing resources for ECPs. At 6:30 minutes, Dee asks about the idea for the EyeInnovate conference, held in November in San Francisco. “[EyeInnovate] really spring from my background doing events for buying groups,” shares Trudi. “We didn’t do the typical eyecare event that you see out there; we made it more of a business event. We brought in non-industry speakers who could talk about the business aspects and motivational and inspirational speakers. I saw that there was no dedicated marketing growth conference in our industry.” She goes on to describe the conception and format of EyeInnovate (9:00). At 11 minutes, they discuss continuing education and the recently changing landscape of accredited courses and the future of CE talks. In short, “people remember fun,” says Trudi (13:53).
At 16:30, Dee sets the stage for the U.S. vs. Canada discussion and Trudi sets the record straight (17:08). She discusses the similarities … mostly challenges ECPs in both countries face … including Canada’s insurance system (18:00) and how Canadians are more willing to spend more on their eyewear (19:00). But across the borders, when asked what their main challenges are, Trudi always hears the same thing… the number one universal challenge facing those managing eyecare businesses is revealed at 19:35. Trudi goes on (20:40) to explain how 4ECPs different divisions helps businesses learn what to do to compete in today’s world, including digital marketing, training and business strategy.
Dee and Trudi discuss the columns from the 4ECP team that INVISION readers can expect in the magazine in 2020 at 22:02. And the bonus content, guidebooks and tools readers will be able to download throughout the year.
This episode of In Vision with Dee Carroll is brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens. For over 60 years, Art Optical’s mission has helped ECP’s to take control of their custom contact lens business. Listen to the podcast for a free offer from Art Optical and visit www.artoptical.com or call 1-800-253-9364 for more information.
INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 9): Eclectic Eye is America's Finest Optical Retailer
Dee sits down with the first place winners of INVISION’s 2019 America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest: Robbie Johnson Weinberg and Dr. Michael Weinberg of Eclectic Eye in Memphis, TN.After establishing how Robbie and Dr. Mike met and how Eclectic came to be, they get into the nitty gritty of the things that makes Eclectic Eye a very special business. Like the fact that they converted to private pay only – that’s right, they take NO insurance - and the benefit that affords them (23:00). They also made the decision to only carry independent brands (27:00) and how other independents can make that decision too. At 34:34 minutes, they talk about the important role a business’s overall environment plays to the success of an independent eyecare business. Shortly after (35:30), they dig deep on working with an outside agency for branding, marketing and social media management and why it’s worth the money. Robbie and Dr. Mike also provide advice for others interested in finding their own agency to work with. And while they are doling out the advice, at 42:00 they provide their advice for couples – or anyone – looking to start their own independent eyecare business. Lastly, they talk about their few regrets (45:30) and how they had tackled them sooner. Be sure to stay to the end because they are issues some of you may currently be facing.
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This is unique
This podcast has a unique perspective that is needed to be heard. I would love more interviews with frame designers that are smaller so I might find one I don’t know. The magazine is great so I know this will continue to be an extension of that.