Showcasing a style identity
Zoë Anderson, dispensing optician and practice partner at Eden Eyecare in Penrith, shares her favourite shapes and her Instagram style icon
23 July 2020
How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?I own seven pairs, including four spectacles and three prescription sunglasses.
What frame shapes, colours or styles do you usually go for?
I have an oval face shape so I always choose shapes that enhance my features. My favourite is a soft square or butterfly shape, perfect for the current trends. I have cool pale tones so I opt for soft colours like pinks, soft browns or dark Havana for a statement. I’m a huge fan of anything mottled.
Can you describe your favourite pair?
That’s easy: Tom Ford 5388 in 055. I have had so many compliments on these glasses. Salt Optics are also one of my favourite brands for their stunning use of colour, texture and quality.
Who would you pick as your eyewear style icon and why?
My style icon would be a make-up blogger on Instagram called Katie Jane Hughes. She looks incredible in a variety of eyewear and I love how she showcases make-up for glasses wearers.
How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?
I’ve worn glasses since the age of 11. I started to struggle at school, so my parents took me for a sight test, and it turned out I was quite short-sighted. I remember the trip home after collecting them - I was ‘wowed‘ that trees had leaves.
Do you wear contact lenses?
Yes, but occasionally – I prefer glasses.
How important is eyewear to reflecting your personality?
It is very important, it is the first thing people see and can totally complete an outfit. It gives you an identity of your chosen style such as classic, vintage or high fashion.
What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?
1. Know your face shape
2. Know your colouring
3. Don’t just choose what you like the look of, they only look good if the fit is great, size is right, along with the colour and shape.
Coronavirus: the impact
How has COVID-19 has affected your practice and the provision of eyewear? How did you adapt to the challenges of lockdown?
Eden Eyecare is owned by myself, a dispensing optician, and optometrist Iain Macnish. We furloughed our four staff members and closed the practice on 23 March following government guidelines. Iain provided triage calls and saw emergency patients whilst I moved the lab to my home and diverted the phone lines to continue providing as much support as possible for our patients. I was also dispensing in practice when required and providing emergency repairs.
Contact lenses and dry eye solutions were provided by delivery. Meanwhile, I worked through the orders to assemble glasses and post them out, ensuring patients received their glasses during lockdown. Whilst the volume of business meant I was extremely busy, our revenue stream dropped significantly due to not being able to provide glasses.
During this time I was able to finish a new website and rebranding that I had been working on. I also installed an online chat facility to our website. Combined with our social media, I quickly realised this was the best way to communicate and maintain our business visibility, as people were spending a lot of time on their digital devices. I saw a significant growth of over 122% across our social media platforms.
During lockdown I developed an online styling service and I utilised this social media growth to promote the service, which helped the practice to regain some glasses orders. The online styling service received great feedback from customers who said it gave them something to look forward to while in lockdown and that they found it fun.
I intend to continue the deliveries and remote ways of working, as well as the online styling service, to keep some pressure off the practice while we phase back in the staff and working clinics. This will help build our revenue stream into the practice, whilst working our clinics with longer appointment times to ensure customer and staff safety.
Have you considered what the next phase may look like for your practice, and your frame provision, with the gradual lifting of lockdown?Before being given the date for returning to routine care, we spent the last few weeks ordering in extra personal protective equipment, the safety signage and reorganising the practice to accommodate the social distance rules to ensure the safety of our staff and patients.
From 15 June we saw an increase in the volume of enquiries for care and had a list of patients waiting to be seen. The next stage is the most important I feel. We have implemented a daily plan for how we can run clinics safely and welcomed back some of our team on 1 July and are helping them adapt to a new way of working.
Some of the changes I put in place during lockdown had been successful, such as the online styling service. This has had great feedback and patients have found it enjoyable. We will continue to offer this as an option for patients if they don’t wish to spend as much time choosing eyewear in the practice.