Optometry Podcast: Eyewear Fashion Trends and Vision Expo East

ABO certified optician Joy Gibb is passionate about her career. “I love my patients, I love styling frames. I’ve done it for over 30 years and I can honestly say I haven’t worked a day in my life. I love what I do.”  She started working in optical in 1986 after being a long-time glasses wearer in a high prescription. From the moment she started working in her hometown optical, she’s never looked back.

Joy Gibb

Over the years, Gibb has been a leading entrepreneur in optical. After working for most of her career in a brick and mortar office, she decided to step away to do more speaking and consulting work. But patients kept calling and asking where she was – they only wanted to buy glasses from her. She launched the Eyes of Joy Mobile Practice in response, driving around town to visit her patients in their homes or offices with trays of frames, and fitting them for eyewear in one on one sessions. Five years ago, she found she was missing the daily hands on experience of working in a clinic and seeing patient care through from start to finish, and she is now the practice manager at Daynes Eye & LASIK in Bountiful, Utah.

In addition to her innovative and entrepreneurial career in optical, Gibb is a leading speaker and voice in optical publications. She frequently writes for Vision Care Product News and has worked as an advisor and consultant with The Vision Council and the Better Vision Institute.

At Vision Expo, one of Gibb’s favorite parts of her job is putting together the biggest fashion trends from New York and Paris Fashion Weeks and transcribing them into eyewear trends.  Her course, Must Have Eyewear Trends for 2019 is held on 3/22 and 3/23 from 8:30-9:30 AM. What are some of the biggest trends she’s seeing for 2019?

It’s all about retro silhouettes with pops of bold color. For men, round shapes continue to dominate, as do double browbar looks. What’s new is the addition of more geometric profiles with interesting cutouts. For women, cat-eye is the biggest shape of the moment, but updated with futuristic new takes on the geometry and dimension of the frame.  For both men and women, color is a big part of the story, both in the frames and in the tints and mirrors of the lenses. For women, blues and lavenders dominated; for men ambers and yellows.

As a part of her course, she not only previews the biggest trends for 2019 with examples and styling tips, but she also educates how to translate trendy optical looks into your offices’ frame boards.  Her advice: it’s important to know what the trends are and to make sure you highlight a few of them on your board. “We know that 80% of what you sell always comes from 20% of your board space, so there is always room to put in something a little more fashion forward that pushes the envelope.  It keeps your boards fresh, and tells your patients you have your finger on the pulse of what is going on.”

In this podcast we also highlight data released by The Vision Council with the 2018 Vision Watch Report. Numbers were recently published in Vision Monday. Optical sales had an excellent year in 2018: $41.38 billion in total sales and a 2.9 percent annual growth rate, which was the strongest annual growth since 2015.  Independent opticals make up the bulk of this market, and this segment reported an increase in sales of 4.2% since September 2016. Direct online optical sales accounted for just $2.1 billion and only 4.9% of all optical sales.

How does Gibb approach the competition from online, direct to consumer marketers entering the marketplace? She encourages independent opticals to ask themselves: why are patients purchasing online? Convenience and price are the two biggest reasons. Patients can buy eyewear like accessories, getting fun and eclectic pairs of eyewear without a big price investment. Her advice is to have options on your frame boards for patients that aren’t looking for a big investment in their eyewear, and make sure those options include some fun styles.  

She is passionate about developing a successful optical culture in independent practices, and teaches two courses at Vision Expo focused on this topic, Extraordinary Customer Service Models on 3/22 from 11-12 PM and The Psychology of the Patient Encounter on 3/22 from 5-6 PM. Gibb encourages doctors, opticians and practice managers to focus on the patient experience – look at every part of the encounter from check in to optical purchase through the patients’ eyes. Talk about the importance of ocular health exam. Get inspiration from successful larger businesses that have built their brand on the patient experience. One of her go-to companies for inspiration is Disney, who’s core focus is on making an experience for the guest. At Disney their mantra is that nobody owns the guest, but every team member can own a moment with the guest. “Is it fun to do business with you? Does the patient leave feeling educated and like their time was valuably spent?” If you can answer yes to those questions, you’re on the path to great success.

If you’d like to learn more or get in touch with Joy Gibb, you can contact her at eyesofjoy@yahoo.com

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