108 OPTICAID Tel: 0113 239 1400 www.opticaid.net How do you keep your designs fresh and current? Do you follow trends? Yes we have to in order to remain current. We spend a lot of time looking at optical trends and fashion colours of future seasons, as well as technological advances and the different materials we can now use. There’s a lot of exciting developments in eyewear at present. What sets you apart from your competitors? I think our broad product range as well as the quality of our frames and lenses at a good price point. With over 80 frames we can appeal to a wide range of customers who might want to sell an Eco range, only the latest fashion frame shapes or a broader range perhaps more suitable in a garden centre. Our customer service is also very good. We’re happy for the buyer to select a range or alternatively our talented team can propose a range once they know the target market. How are you finding the current climate in the UK? Is it affecting business? It is challenging – we wouldn’t be truthful if we said otherwise. Households are experiencing unprecedented pressure on their monthly budgets but by offering an attractive quality range I’m sure we’ll ride this storm like we have many others. It’s important to keep offering our customers something new which marry the latest looks with environmentally sound materials. How do you view the future of independent retail post-pandemic? It is currently a challenge but if businesses keep an eye on their finances, understand their customer base and what they like, and buy wisely they will flourish. It’s about your unique selling point – it might be the product offer, price point, customer experience or service. Often when times are tough you review what you do and refocus. It’s important to keep in stock of the best sellers too! Are you active on social media? How is this important for the business? We are increasingly active but need to do more. It’s everchanging and needs more attention. This is one of our business goals this year. Our younger customers rely heavily on it to identify trends and the latest products as well as connecting with their customer base. Do you have any advice for new businesses starting out in the world of gifts? Find that unique selling point – product, price or service or a mix of all three and do it very well. Be prepared to work very hard but have fun on route and be true to yourself. You’ll make mistakes, so re-evaluate and change course if you need. We don’t like to say no to possible opportunities as you don’t know where it will lead. You can always trial things first. What can we expect in the future from the company? More newness in terms of products. We’re looking at new statement reading glasses, different eco frame materials, optical cases and cleaning cloths, a budget friendly reading glass offer and a new reader concept. As well as a new trade website – phew. We hope you’ll love our new ideas.