It’s been a wild ride these past few years. I feel like we’ve had moments of hope, mixed with moments of exhaustion, mixed with times where it’s been hard to feel much at all. It’s been high and low, good and bad, and absolutely everything in between. So in these times, in order to keep my own sanity, I find myself searching for things to inspire my mindset. This little
nugget of inspiration was found where virtually no wisdom ever originates, in a meme I found online. “If you’re going to do something anyway, you might as well have some fun while you’re at it.”
It’s a new morning in 2022. As the widespread fear and panic gives way to a newfound cautious optimism, America has slowly begun to poke our collective heads out of the rabbit hole, looking for signs that it’s all right to come out again. The answer, it would seem, is a resounding… kind of? As supply chain issues dominate the six o’clock news and an uncertain medical establishment tackles the realities of the Omicron variant, so too are more people vaccinated than ever, more businesses open, and more people back to work. Whither brick and mortar optical in this unpredictable sea of hesitance and hope? The answer is a resounding “somewhere.”
In April 2020, when Connecticut optician Norma Brown opened ProVision in Hartford, she wasn’t interested in making history, but she did – and already had. In 2008 Norma became the first Black female licensed optician in Fairfield County, CT and next opened the state’s first Black-owned optical shop. When a sales rep who had done some research informed Norma of those distinctions, she was surprised. She wasn’t interested in making history. As Noma puts it, she saw only an opportunity and “let down my net for a catch.”
The end of the year is upon us, and I, for one, am excited to turn the calendar page on the year 2021. This year has been full of highs and lows, a pendulum swing of hope and optimism followed by a crash of reality that we are still not out of the clutches of a pandemic. Collectively, we’ve seen people at their best and at their most divided. Yet here we are, we are still standing. We have been weathered by the storm; we are (hopefully) emerging into a more promising 2022. We have been changed by having lived through these strange times. So, for a moment, I’d like to ask each of you reading this to take a moment and appreciate how strong you really are. Just the fact that you made it this far is an accomplishment. Yes, it counts.
Self-reflection is something I like to practice, especially during a new year/chapter in my life. I love celebrating the holidays and getting into the spirit for winter. However, the last quarter of the year for this industry is busy and important to the business. The holiday season is filled with bustling shoppers who have expiring insurance benefits, which means last minute shopping! This also means a crowded optical, many phone calls, and beating the clock to the new year for some patients.
I’ve been checking in with many of my optical friends across the nation lately, just trying to see how they’ve weathered the pandemic and the easing of restrictions. What I’ve heard from several of our optical friends is that the gravity of this last year and half has been difficult to shoulder, and things feel a bit unsettled in general. And I can relate, I’m located in an area that has removed most mask restrictions except when in medical settings, which has led to me growing weary of having to defend my office’s position on mask wearing to clients on a sometimes-hourly basis. In these times, and to be honest, in most times in my personal life, I tend to lean a bit on sarcasm and humor to get me through when things feel weird.
As an optician, my priority is for the patient to have the best vision with their eyeglasses. That priority includes multiple pairs. The idea of buying two or more pairs of glasses can meet resistance from some, but I learned ways to make it more appealing. I’ve learned to maximize business opportunities with kindness. These are some tips that can help build sales!
When Danielle Crull, owner of A Child’s Eyes in Mechanicsburg, PA, found a stray kitten, little did she know that this cute ball of fur would become the celebrity of her children’s eyewear practice. Since 2018, Truffles has helped children overcome their anxiety about wearing glasses and patching by modeling them herself, and that includes wearing a mask.
Every optical has its own unique approach to marketing frames. I recently took an inventory and realized how much product I could display instead of keeping it in storage. It was satisfying to rearrange the office and display new posters that mirror current trends. Here’s how we did an office makeover to stand out and attract business.
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