Product development manager at Dunelm Optical, Oliver Beaumont, discusses Brexit uncertainty, the latest trends and how the company has been celebrating its 50th anniversary
Can you tell me three interesting facts about Dunelm Optical?
- The Beaumont family has been in the optical business for over seven generations and 2019 sees Dunelm Optical celebrate its 50th year of trading. From a humble beginning, supplying only lenses out of an old converted Wesleyan Chapel and employing seven people, Dunelm expanded a few years later by building premises next door to house the manufacturing side of the business and began supplying frames to independent opticians. We now have a dedicated team of over 75 staff working from our headquarters in County Durham and our cases factory in Leeds. Many of our staff have been with us for several decades and includes two generations of the same family
- We are the only case manufacturer in the UK, offering an extensive range of eyewear cases that are authentically sourced, utilising the latest British designed cotton prints and fabrics
- Dunelm Optical also offers not only an industry leading selection of designer eyewear, fashion frames, prescription sunglasses, cases and accessories, but also uncut lenses and prescription glazing from our state-of-the-art lens laboratory in the heart of our multi-purpose facility.
What makes your eyewear unique?
Because of the reputation and proven track record that Dunelm has built over the last 50 years, we are unique in being able to secure quality designer brands and eyewear collections.
We supply modern classics to original eclectic designs for men, women, teenagers and children, to suit all tastes and budgets. Our eyewear and prescription sun collections offer over 600 quality created frames with over 200 new arrivals for 2019. Our designers are extremely experienced with outstanding craftsmanship and fashion flair, always keeping up with the latest trends and styles to suit a diverse audience throughout all the seasons.
Our 17 strong brand portfolio includes premium designer collections: Joseph, Paul Costelloe and Freya; and popular house brands: Julian Beaumont, Retro, Chantelle, Euroflex, Stainless, Ascari, OMG! Eyewear, Universal, Meridian, Complete, Whiz Kids, Gr8 Kids, Sunset+ and Sunset.
We supply modern classics to original eclectic designs for men, women, teenagers and children, to suit all tastes and budgets
What is the latest collection that you have released and why does it stand out from the crowd?
The latest release from Dunelm is luxury designer eyewear from high-end fashion brand Joseph. This is a contemporary collection with a strong core of indulgent essence, exploring the idea of a ‘modern classic’ with a creative Joseph twist.
As we celebrate 50 years in business, it has been the perfect opportunity to collaborate with this established and prestigious fashion brand. We love the colourful contrasts and bold details from this Parisian-designed, hand-made in Italy, premium eyewear collection.
How are your customers responding to the company’s latest styles?
Our customers love that we supply frames from such a prestigious fashion brand as Joseph and the feedback has been overwhelming, resulting in a phenomenal amount of orders.
Customers enjoy the oversized fashion forward shapes of the frames and have commented on the inclusion of subtle, colour dipped tips and other design nuances that lend an individuality to this spectacular range. The Joseph range has demonstrated to be a this season must-have.
What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?
Our team is not resting on its laurels and is continually working on the next innovative collection of frames, lenses, cases and accessories, ensuring we maintain our market position as the UK’s number one independent supplier to independent opticians.
We will be expanding our eyewear collections as well as our lens portfolio. We are in the process of investing in new laboratory machinery to ensure our lenses are of premium quality within the lens market. Plans are also underway to expand our case and accessories range.
What external factors is the company taking into account when planning for the future, and why?
Dunelm are currently forward planning for the uncertainty and unknown outcome of Brexit. There is such unrest that countries are more cautious in dealing with UK-based companies.
The eye care business will be deeply affected by Brexit as imports are impacted because the dollar is high against the pound and as a result the cost of glasses will go up.
Independent opticians would be wise to stock up on products now as current prices will inevitably rise.
What are the next big trends in eyewear?
Vintage styles show no sign of slowing down as we move into 2020 with top models and celebrities donning retro-style frames. Dunelm Optical are leading the fashion market and are ahead of the game with our Retro collection that encompasses fashion influences from the 1950s & 1960s with a modern twist.
The oversized look is definitely here to stay. Using legendary styles and oversized shapes, we feel Joseph has created future classics that you will still want to wear in years to come.
Frame wearers today are much more particular about the feel and weight of the glasses they purchase. Lightweight materials will be leading the trend and textures will play a pivotal role from the beginning of the design process through to production.
How has Dunelm Optical been celebrating its 50th anniversary?
As part of our ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations Dunelm are offering free glazing and stock single vision prescription on selected ranges when ordered all-in glazed. Designer brands Joseph and Paul Costelloe also benefit from hard multi coating included in the price.
Dunelm’s all-in-one frame and lens packages offer quick turnaround, convenience and quality guaranteed. We encourage opticians to use our frame and lens service, we are certain that it will deliver a reduction in both costs and time with no compromise on quality. This offer is a thank you to all our customers for their continued and loyal support over the last 50 years.
We celebrated our 50th anniversary in style at 100% Optical, Optrafair and Mido and we are heading to Silmo, Paris in September. Customers old and new joined the festivities and shared the party atmosphere with drinks, music, treats, gifts of goody bags galore, alongside some spectacular entertainment including the unforgettable and much talked about ‘mirror dancers’ that entertained all those who visited the Dunelm stand.