Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Keep your knees flexed

Next week marks my two years in business for myself. If you ask most small business owners how they do it, they are going to tell you that most days they don't know. One foot in front of the other. If you ask them WHY they do it..Well, that's a different story. 

There isn't a secret formula. But there are some things that just hold true no matter what day it is. Little life lessons that prop you up and propel you forward. This I have learned:

Be grateful, someone else is struggling harder than you
Gratitude is hard some days. The phone isn't ringing, the bills are due or you're busy and understaffed. But TODAY the weather is nice, the door is propped open, there is enough money to pay the bills and busy is good! I'm grateful that I have a place of my own that needs vacuuming. I'm grateful I can serve my patients in ways that NO OTHER Optical in town can. 
 Do I deserve your business more than those big corporations do? No.
 Do I appreciate it more than they do? You BET I DO! I'm grateful. 

There's only one direction to go. UP.

Two years ago the economy was bad. Business capital was almost impossible to come by. People thought I was crazy to go into business for myself. It takes a long time to build a business. Wouldn't my business increase as the economy improved? Might as well ride the wave up together. Hurry up and wait!

Expect the unexpected 

Close your eyes. Picture your ideal....whatever it is. Everyone has a vision of how that should look. How it should feel. How it should taste. I pictured birch wood and stainless steel for my Optical Boutique. I knew I would have all the best frames in my inventory. I would have modern furniture and chandeliers. I would have huge windows and minimalist decor. Lighted wall niches, exposed brick etc. etc.

Now look at the reality.  It's a living room. Call a spade a spade. What I built, what evolved is comfy. It's cozy. It's a gathering place. It's a little nerdy and frumpy some days. It's not at all modern. I DO have all the best frames. Are they the modern collections I envisioned? No. They are vintage, colorful and eclectic. Just like the shop that I built. Its everything it SHOULD be. I love it here. 

Keep your knees flexed

I had a friend and a mentor who used to tell me this ALL the time. He knew something I didn't understand until much later. In order to survive the ups and downs of a small business, you have to be flexible. Does this mean you are subject to reacting to the squeakiest wheel? Absolutely not. But it does mean that you shouldn't get your undies in a bunch over things that you can't change. Just find a new way to deal with it. You will grow, you will stretch and you will save your energy for the next thing that comes up.

Be careful what you pray for, you  just might get it

Those that know me, know I pray. Heck I might have prayed for YOU!
But I have learned that God is good to me. I don't always get what I want. I don't always receive what I expected. But that's the "KEEP YOUR KNEES FLEXED" part. While the rewards of being a small business owner aren't always financial, they are far more lucrative in other ways. If there is a magic bullet for success. This is it. 

Thank you friends for all your support. For your patronage. For all your prayer. Here's to many more wonderful years wearing really GREAT glasses! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Salt Water Taffy Summers

There is an intrinsic value to those things that bring us happy memories. It may be a song that reminds you of that HOT summer at the lake when everything was browned to a crisp, but was the best summer ever.

Maybe it's those spearmint leaves that Grandpa used to snack on. They weren't good, you didn't crave them then. But you do now. Because Grandpa is gone and every time you catch the scent of them, they remind you of him.

Everyone has something that connects them to a memory. So when Furla unveiled her Candy Eyewear Collection, I just had to show you what they reminded me of.

And of course, that had to be licorice. Like the spearmint leaves, licorice is NOT my favorite. The distinctive flavor of licorice was too much for my childish palate. But the colors. The contrast. The juxtaposition and blend of the pink and the black and the white were truly attractive to me. And they still are! Who could resist this?

Reminiscent of carnivals and Coney Island summers, These sunglasses bring out all of the whimsy and fun that summer offers.

Popping color and protective lenses are just what the backyard BBQ ordered!

And for indoor style, just look at what the candyman has up his sleeve.
Soda fountain looks that are lighter, softer and infinitely flattering in shape and color. The lighter side of the optical industry is starting to flip her skirt...
Genuine Leather accents add a serious tone to an otherwise demure pair of glasses

 Pastels are just the thing to sweeten up summer with a much cooler look!
Trying on glasses is one of the best ways to dream up a new look! No trying on jeans, no bad lighting, just quick and easy fun! With the right pair of glasses, your outlook on summer can be the sweetest ever!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Don't get your pixels in a bunch

It's 2:00 in the afternoon and you've been looking at your computer for HOURS. In fact, if you're reading this post, you're STILL staring at the computer!
Everybody take 20 seconds, look 20 feet away and blink 20 times. 

Doesn't that feel better?
Now that you've done your eyeball jumping jacks, lets work on solving this problem for the future!

The future is definitely deeply rooted in the technology that drives our everyday lives. 
Last blog post I gave you a hint that the 80's frame styles were coming back in style. Shapes and sizes and bright colors that are fer sure, like totally exciting!
But the most exciting thing is the perfect symbiosis of those retro and vintage frame styles combined with the futuristic technology of  digital lenses.
So what is digital exactly?

Simply put, the optics of the lens has more pixels per square inch. That's why they are often marketed as HD lenses. 

In the past, your eyeglass lenses were made with one "sweet spot" optical center. That means that for those of you who have a stronger prescription, you subconsciously lose clarity the farther off the center of the lens that you look. Digital technology makes lenses with up to 72 of these "sweet spots" throughout the lens. The result is a a MUCH larger field of vision, crisp clarity and more comfort for long term wear. 

Additionally, your Optician has great opportunities for customization of your lenses that we only dreamed about before! With a digital progressive lens, we can SPECIFY the corridor length of your progressive. No more cookie cutter lens designs that require a "just so" frame to make the lens fit. Exciting stuff? Yes it is! 
Of course these premium lenses are only available through the best eye care providers. Don't be fooled by big box claims, and please don't try to buy this kind of lens online.  They are using older lens designs, or  'semi' digital lenses. Look at it this way, you wouldn't go car shopping and buy a vintage car thinking it's going to have bluetooth connectivity right? 

You need a professional to help you navigate the extra measurements required to make the most of this technology. 
Look what happens when you do....

Big difference huh?
Yes, this is a television comparison, but the concept and the "WOW" factor are definitely the same. 
So how much is it going to cost you for all this snazzy stuff? About $50-$150 more in most cases. Anyone who is wearing these type of lenses will tell you it's totally worth it. You only have one pair of eyes, you only have this one life to live. Don't miss a moment because of bad glasses!

Monday, March 31, 2014

The 80's called and they're coming back

Admit it, you had a pair of shorts coveralls. And if you did then you're going to REALLY recognize some of the latest trends in eyewear. Away with Geek Chic and Onward with pop rocks colored big round plastic frames. Bring on neon, bring on stripes, next thing you know you'll have a peplum dress again. Check out Risky Business and She-Bop into your local independent optical to try it on. 
80's a little too close for comfort?
(Oh  I am SO punny today)

See the unique retro looks coming your way.

This is the Lustre Lady by Jonathan Cate and it is OH so beautiful on. It flatters a woman's face with a beautiful uplift, whimsical details and ALSO comes in more neutral colors for the slightly less adventurous style diva. This spring you will see a softer side to eyewear with less sharp angles, thinner profiles and unexpected color combinations such as neon yellow and navy blue.

Now before you say "That's not for me", try a few on.  You might surprise yourself and LIKE THEM!
What's old is new again. Over and over. You might be feeling a little nostalgia for a time when things were simpler. When life was quieter and we spent more time face-to-face over coffee. What better way to indulge than a timeless eyewear look? Stay tuned for our next installment on those newfangled "digitized" lenses. It's going to be an eyewear mashup of old and new and you will LOVE the way you look and how you see!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I won't give you a virus!

You don't need to buy glasses from me.

Until the day you wish you had. 

I would like to tell you that the eyewear people get online really sucks. And in many instances it does. But for the most part, those that purchase inexpensive eyewear just want cheap glasses. We can talk about quality and customer service but that's not the driving force behind cheap glasses so why argue it?

Because I have more zoo-zoo and wham-whams than the computer has AND I'm there when you need me!

PRICE: I can usually honor the price you found online. Usually the super cheap options are loss leaders and they are hoping you will upgrade. If you knew what you were buying then you probably WOULD upgrade. Our prices aren't usually that different and I won't be offended if you ask!

ACCURACY: I make sure your glasses are correct. I have a microscope and 23+ years behind me to know how to do that. When I get your glasses in from my lab, I go through the entire fitting process again and double check that they provided what I ordered and did it accurately. Sometimes I don't pass them, and they get sent back. You can count on me to make sure they're right!

ADJUSTMENT: I have special super-powers of fitting and adjusting frames. I have tools that will strategically bend your frames without weakening them. I have to confess that there are GROSS number of opticals that don't adjust frames at dispense. You should find one that does. It's a necessary part of the process. 

WARRANTY: What are you supposed to do when your online glasses get broken? Loses a screw? Develops a defect in the coatings? This is the point where most folks finally realize their computer can't fix a pair of glasses. They need a person. They want me to "buff it out". They want me to repair it. We optical peeps are very good at repairs, but here comes that QUALITY lecture...maybe it wouldn't have broken if...
However, when you buy from us, we are always happy to extend all available warranties and take care of it 

RELATIONSHIP: This is where the rubber meets the road. I always said I would work for free and I DO! Someday I hope to make money, but the bottom line is that I LOVE to help you see. Your local Opticians enjoy seeing you, getting to know you. Come in and have a cup of coffee while I repair your glasses or do an adjustment for you. Come in ANYTIME! Because your computer can't hang with you like we can.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Is Candy Crush making you cross-eyed?

You're going to invite me to play. I  just know it. I'm not giving in though. I'm not going to play Candy Crush. You can keep inviting me.

While we sit at the computer and debate the relative merits of the latest gaming challenge, text our friends and check our emails our bums are not getting a workout but our eyes sure are.

Picture yourself doing a wall sit for 60 seconds. Sounds easy right? I recently parked my patoot against the wall and made it about 28 seconds before I slid down in a jelly bean heap on the floor. Certainly a commentary on my fitness level. (I have worked my way up to 38 seconds). 
Did you know that doing close up work is doing the SAME amount of strain to your eye muscles as those wall sits? Would you be able to hold a squat for hours on end?
What would happen when you tried to stand up?
Odds are you would stagger around a little, perhaps be quite stiff afterward.

The cold reality is that our ocular muscles just ain't prepared for that kind of workout.

Biology vs. Technology: There is a biological truth that our near vision gets to be pretty skimpy around the age of 40. Why is this? Because since you were BORN your focal distance has been growing at the rate of about an inch per year from the end of your nose. It stands to reason then, that by age 40ish, you have reached your fingertips. This is why most people need reading glasses to shorten that focal distance back to a more comfortable range. News flash, wearing reading glasses on the end of your nose doesn't make you look younger. Give in gracefully to a no-line bifocal and fool us all.

Technology on the other hand is a MUCH murkier issue. How much time are you spending looking up close? How close is close?
How big is your monitor? One monitor or two...?

To answer those questions, look at the statistics in the Vision Council Report below. Roughly 1/3 of people spend 3-5 hours a day looking at near items like computers and smart phones. Another 1/3 spend 3-6 hours looking close up.

But don't worry, we have a solution for that!

As usual, the market has responded to the demand for lenses that accomodate our lifestyle. Lens manufacturers are creating lenses that are tailored to the needs of near and intermediate vision. Anti-reflective coatings have been developed to filter out uncomfortable blue light, and even  people who don't NEED help up close can get lenses which help "relax" the eye muscle. Ask your Optician about these new products and TAKE ADVANTAGE of them! Leave comments if you need names of specific lenses  and I will help you. 

Lastly, remember to take a break every half hour or so and focus far away from you! Use wetting drops regularly (not the get-the-red-out kind), and make sure you are using good posture and ergonomics on your computer.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm an Optetrician and I will help you see better after I drink my expresso

Say WHaaa??!! If I had a buck for every time someone called me an Optetrician I would not have to work any more.

We didn't get to pick our names, and thusly I have this dastardly A on the end of my name that has required lifetime explanation. Does me no good whatsoever. People call me Nicole and I answer. I also respond to Vicky, Mickey and sundry other _icky names that you want to butcher in there.

But I DID choose my vocation. Or did it choose me? Either way it did not involve delivering babies through the eyeball socket. Yet endlessly folks mangle my job title up with an Obstetrician. Those people are actually qualified to deliver babies. I can only help you see. Woohoo! I can help you see! Bet an Obstetrician can't do THAT!

What's the difference between all those big O's anyhow?
Let me explain.

An Opthalmologist is an MD. They are trained specifically to diagnose and treat eye diseases and perform surgeries when necessary or elected. These are the wonderful people who clear up our cataracts, perform LASIK and hold our hand through difficult things like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Their main focus is not intended to do routine eye exams for everyday glasses and contacts. Your Optometrist will refer you to an Opthalmologist when necessary.

Your Optometrist is an OD. This is who you want to see when you need a prescription for eyeglasses or contacts. They are uniquely qualified to give you the best corrected vision through lenses. They also look for eye health issues. They can treat eye infections and even manage eye diseases. If you need eye surgery, they will send you to an Opthalmologist. But generally an Optometrist is the one you need for basic and maintenance eyecare.

The Optician is much like a pharmacist that fills your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Opticians are only required to be licensed in roughly 21 states.
Those in the remaining states may choose to be licensed by the American Board of Opticanry, but it is not necessary and as a result, there tends to be a shallow understanding of the effects an eyeglasses prescription has on the patient. I always encourage people to know who they are talking to! Many "opticans" were working at the checkout the week before. I know. I was one of them. Ask or look for ABOC Optician or ABOC-NCLE designations.

Need a good Optometrist, an ABO Certified Optician and a full digital eye exam? Schedule with us at EyeStyles. The difference will be clear.