Black Optical was founded 15 years ago with the core value of caring for everyone as a guest in our home, all while reinventing what it means to be an eyewear retailer. This includes being an early adopter of e-commerce, virtual styling, tele-optometry, bookable appointments for opticianry fittings, while continuing to introduce the world's best eyewear to our discerning clientele and optical community at large. In 2021, we have launched exclusive capsule collections with famed eyewear brands Jacques Marie Mage and Lapima, along with accessory designers Toto.Design and Makr Carry Goods.
Pivoting Post-Pandemic: Leading into the pandemic and post, it was important to keep our entire team fully paid and actively engaged. We used this time to create a series called Black Optical TV, becoming a resource for both fellow opticians and our clients, enlisted leading eyewear designers to share music they found comforting during quarantining in a Spotify series called “Lockdown Sound”, essentially an extension of “Black Optical Sound System” series. Post-pandemic we have leaned in heavier to our virtual stylings, integrated an app that allows us to create, send and collect payments/invoices via mobile texts, creating a faster conversion time that a web store or in store purchase. During this time we also invested into contactless technologies via Optikam and Smart Vision Labs.
Community: From the beginning Black Optical lives by the philosophy of “People Over Products”, and this starts within our communities. We have donated and fitted 1,000+ frames and RX lenses to the Day Center for the Homeless, in addition to under privileged students at our neighborhood schools. Each year for Tulsa Care's Red Ribbon gala, raising awareness to care for citizens affected by HIV, AIDS & Hepatitis C, we tint all of our clients sun/rx lenses red, donating proceeds to the cause. We are not afraid of using our vision and raising our voices for marginalized members of our communities. Last year we created a campaign “We Wont Turn A Blind Eye to Racism and Injustice”, using our large format windows as billboards and donating 100% of the accompanied cleaning cloth sales to Greenwood Cultural Center. On a lighter note, our Black Optical Blend created with a rotating cast of local coffee roasters always creates buzz each season.
It began with a vision and a dream. In 1970, Eyes On Sheppard opened its doors in the heart of Toronto. Now over 50 years later, Eyes On Sheppard re-imagines eye care in our new location. Much of our success has been a result of dreaming big, treating people with kindness, creating lifelong relationships, and continually investing in our practice and people.
Pivoting Post-Pandemic: Planning for our new office has been a labor of love and has taken many years to come to fruition. The concept was to create an innovative space that engages all five senses, embracing retail as an essential part of our optometric practice. We've taken the customer experience to the next level with state-of-the-art technology and the finest eyewear curated from around the world. It's an environment that stimulates the senses using tactile materials, signature scents, and dazzling displays of art, light, and optics. We bring nature into the city with a waterfall feature, illuminated skylines and a green wall perfect for selfies. Interactive floors and large video art walls immerse the customer in a visual wonderland. As we were building our new location during the initial stages of the pandemic, we were able to seamlessly incorporate technologies, systems, and procedures to limit COVID transmission. We are one of the first retail stores in North America to utilize UV-C air disinfection, thermal temperature cameras, and revolutionary nanocoatings on surfaces to keep our customers and team safe and healthy.
Aesthetics: Our retail area consists of elegant and simple floating displays with accent lighting that make our frame collections 'pop'. These displays can attach and detach to reconfigure the space for promotions and events. Customer flow is optimized by creating 'neighborhoods' so that customers can peruse the variety of collections throughout the space without feeling overwhelmed. The Vault, a glass- enclosed viewing room, houses luxury brands and limited edition eyewear. The layout was designed to achieve the highest patient retention ratio possible. We don't believe that optical retail is dead. Quite the opposite, actually. We designed our space to leverage the customer experience whether online or in-house.
Dazzling the customer with new and innovative products while providing exemplary personal one-on- one care, ensures financial success and customer retention. We believe that post-COVID, people will want to splurge on beauty, skin treatments, fashion, and eyewear. They want to feel and look good. Reimagining retail and thinking outside the box will attract these consumers.
Community: Beyond the in-store experience, we have embraced social media channels and the latest customer retention and communication technologies to stay connected with over 130 000 active patients as well as attract new ones. We actively support other local businesses by providing a complimentary pop-up space where they can showcase their products and services. Most recently, we collaborated with a local brewery to create our own signature brand “Eyes Cold Beer”. While we've grown in size, our commitment to personalized care and lifelong relationships remains rooted in our humble beginnings.
Pivoting Post-Pandemic: Of course, we enhanced our (already thorough) cleaning and sanitizing practices, completed with a final wipe down in front of patients so they can be confident in the safety of their environment. We also increased communication with our patients, calling them ahead of appointments to discuss Covid symptoms, recent travel, and accommodations as needed. We provided medical masks for staff and patients and wore face shields when necessary. We moved to appointment- only, to monitor the number of patients in office and to allow for appropriate social distancing. Furthermore, we continued to use our sanitizing machine to disinfect frames so patients could feel comfortable trying them on in office. As we were planning to open a new location when the pandemic hit, we were fortunate enough to have extra staff which provided more support for our brigade when colleagues were off sick or recovering from vaccinations. While cleaning practices made a physical difference, it was the support we showed each other in these trying times that really helped us come together and do what we could given the circumstances.
Community: We engage with our community regularly via social media – participating in trends, celebrating holidays, and educating our followers about important topics such as glaucoma and dry eye treatments. We love to support local when buying lunches, catering staff events, or treating the office to donuts for special occasions. During the holidays, we connected with our community by sending out handwritten cards to other local businesses in the area and gathering goods and necessities to fill
stockings with for people in the community who were in need of a little extra love and care. We also help other communities by collecting old frames and donating them to the Lions Club for use at the International Eyeglass Recycling Centre which provides recycled eyewear free of charge to people in developing countries. We are always brainstorming more ways to be involved in our communities!
Aesthetics: One of the key features of Ocean Optometry is the beautiful, exposed brick. Being in downtown Halifax there is a lot of history in the buildings, and we are happy to have maintained some of the style from decades gone by. Our shelving is simple and bright, to allow the frames to showcase themselves. You will also find local, Maritime-inspired art on our walls, driftwood and shells that tie in nicely with our Ocean theme. Additionally, we get some unique displays created by Dr. John’s wife, Rosanna. Sometimes these are seasonal, and others they are just phenomenal works of art to keep up year-round. All of this works together to create a chic, relaxing environment.
OPTYX New York would be honored to be considered for the Vision Expo OPTImum Retail Award. We have all been through so much these last two years, and we think Vision Expo is the perfect way to celebrate and share together. We have worked tirelessly to be creative in showcasing our brand, our products, our aesthetics, our staff and community by using everything from technology to grass roots organic marketing and old-fashioned care and concern.
Community and Pivoting Post-Pandemic: OPTYX has always been deeply involved with our local communities and gone the extra mile to make sure they know we care. During the pandemic, empathy and care was paramount. Whether it was hand delivering frames to a doctor, one of our patients at a nursing home, or driving frames to someone's doorstep that was unable to leave their home, we care deeply about our customers and staff.
We knew our marketing and advertising had to change post pandemic and decided to start with the local stores surrounding our stores that were in-line with our luxury brand.
The focus here is to assist and collaborate with our surrounding retailers who were struggling, like we were, to reach clients during the pandemic, and encourage potential shoppers to “Shop Small Business”. All parties cross market and share on social sites, to gain new followers and customers in a grass roots, organic way, showcasing our new pieces with their new pieces, taking photos, videos, and sharing collectively to social media.
We accessorize eyewear with outfits with local clothing retailers, shoe stores and jewelry stores. Some of these local partnerships include Manhattan Motor Cars, Venus Et Fleur, Berkshire Hathaway Laffey International, Sight MD, London Jewelers, Jildore Shoe Store, St. John and NY Fit Fest. Our latest event
was a pop-up fashion show at The Aston Martin Showroom and an invitation only evening with our luxury partners.
EYE ON FASHION was created to celebrate the excitement of New York Fashion Week. We styled different looks on the runway with incredible new collections of eyewear OPTYX carries. Our customers had a chance to see how easy it is to accessorize with eyewear, and also got to experience what was on trend locally, not only at OPTYX, but with our other local luxury partners.
OPTYX hosts an annual Gift of Sight Program working with local lens labs and our local legislator Josh Lazafan to service communities and organizations in need such as, Big Brother Big Sister of Long Island, Warren Buffet's Sunshine Kids, Boys and Girls Club of Long Island and Surf For All. This is by far one of our most favorite events.
During the pandemic, we also worked with Northwell Health, and provided Ray-bans for over 300 physicians for their golf outing, which was hosted by Northwell Health to thank all of their doctors for their hard work during the pandemic.
OPTYX New York has 11 locations throughout NYC and Long Island and celebrated the successful launch of 2 new locations despite the pandemic and will continue to expand with the launch of 2 additional locations within the next 60 days.
Changes We Made:
The silver lining of the pandemic was an accelerated launch of a much-needed digital transformation in our marketing campaigns. We implemented new email marketing campaigns, an automatic recall service, blog posts, in-store QR Codes for patient intake, social media and google reviews, instagram live streams, instagram shopping and a new online shopping website.
During the pandemic, we filmed 3 TV commercials, highlighting our concierge and customer service, doctors, and staff.
The most current 30 second commercial features industry veteran and owner of OPTYX, Harvey Ross.
We felt it was imperative for our community to see the precautions we were taking to make sure they were safe to the best of our ability. We also offered concierge service, accommodating one patient per hour. These ads air on Fox News, HGTV, Lifetime, The Cooking Channel and News 12 Long Island.
Our new digital & OTT initiatives have also been successful in micro-targeting zip codes and HHI in NYC and on LI.
We’ve been featured on/in Fox News, Newsday, News 12, Long Island Business News, Invision Magazine, Long Island Herald, Bella Magazine, Social Life Magazine, Dibella Entertainment, Yes Network, Syosset Advance, NY Post
OPTYX has also created a meaningful partnership with Sight MD on Long Island and in NYC focusing on patient care. We collaborate with our doctors on a regular basis, concentrating on the eye- health of our patients, pre and post-surgery. This is one of our most precious relationships to date.
Aesthetics: OPTYX takes great pride in all our locations streamlined with a mid-century, yet modern aesthetic that is both spacious and comfortable. With crystal chandeliers, and sleek lines, our unique look create an unforgettable brand experience with design feels leaning towards modern luxury, that can be seen in all of our locations. When OPTYX acquires a new location, we immediately change the look of the store to be in line with the brand, which is recognizable the second you walk into any of our stores.
We’ve also built our stores to create an individual space for the unbelievable brands we carry. When you walk into any of our stores, you immediately know where you are by the look, the feel and even the smell, which is all consistent with the OPTYX brand.
OPTYX opticians concentrate on selling better lenses, and customers appreciate and notice a difference in the way they can see more clearly. We focus heavily on the customer, the service and the style.
Keeping in line with luxury brands, OPTYX launched our signature scent in all 11 locations, which has been very successful. Our goal was to leverage the correlation between service and smell. OPTYX taps into the power of scent to enhance its brand-identity. Our OPTYX signature scent enhances the experience. An inviting smell makes the shopping environment welcoming and comforting, so it increases the quality and quantity of the time spent in a store. It enhances the customer’s overall perception of products, brand, service quality and care. A pleasant shopping experience also creates positive emotions and associations, which make brands more memorable over time, and helps to differentiate our overall customer service and experience from competitors.
Post Pandemic Changes: