Before joining the optical world of glasses over 20 years ago, I had a quite eclectic choice of career interests. On leaving school in Yorkshire where I was born, I went to work in Boots, in the chemist department and trained to be a dispencing technician. After 11 years there, having grown up in the hotel owned by my parents, I decided to buy my own hotel at just 29. This was followed by a lovely up market tearoom similar to the famous Betty’s in Harrogate, which I ran with my husband Colin.
Finally at the age of 36 I joined Dollond & Aitchison Opticians and decided to do my training in the optical world. Might sound boring to some, but I loved it so much I soon went on to become manager.
During my time as manager of 3 well known high street opticians, I spent a lot of time listening to customer’s opinions of optician’s shops in general. What a lot of people had to say wasn’t good. The general opinion was that they were unhelpful, and overpriced.
After listening to a lady who came into our shop very timidly asking for help, having got her glasses from another opticians, I made the decision to open a mobile practice myself. I just knew I could offer a much better personal service. The poor lady’s eyelashes were touching the lenses in her new frame. This is very annoying for the glasses wearer, and is very easy to rectify with a simple frame adjustment that takes literally seconds to do. A very unhelpful lady had told her “Well cut your eyelashes.” Sounds ridiculous I know, but this is the level of service I’ve heard about on many occasions.
After a lot of careful thought and planning, I started Value Vision Mobile Optical Service, supplying glasses to local people in the comfort of their own homes. The many testimonials that can be seen on the website are proof of the new venture’s success.
Three years on and once again I’d been doing a lot of listening to my customers. Money was tight just now, and people needed it to stretch a little further. People had been asking would I reglaze their own frame rather buy a new one. I’d never had a problem with this, and have done it all the time. I know high street shops have a different view on this; they want the frame sales basically. I prefer to think of it as keeping my customers happy and giving them what they actually want.
Once again, after a lot of planning and careful consideration our latest venture Reglaze Glasses 4U was now up and running. Now 6 years on and we’re busier than ever and now reglaze frames for people all over Europe, as well as sell complete pairs of Blue Light Blocking Glasses on Amazon.
As well as running the two businesses, I still find plenty of time to relax. My first loves of course are my hubby Colin and my family.
Coming up a close second is Charlie, our mad Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Our hometown of Lytham St Annes is a small, quaint coastal town, but surrounded by countryside, so is an excellent place for dog walking. We meet up with the locals everyday, walking Charlie in the woods behind our house. I love foreign holidays as I love snorkeling, but think a few hours in the garden with a good book has to be my idea of bliss.
In the last couple of years we’ve added 8 chickens to the menagerie. They all have names and their own quirky personality, and are a delight to watch while I’m in the garden pottering about. A bonus for customers who come to the house for their glasses is that they usually leave with a box of fresh eggs. A regular comment is that they’ve never enjoyed buying their glasses so much before. They’ve had a lovely time chatting over a cup of fresh coffee with biscuits, and to top it all off left with a box of day old eggs to take home for their tea. How much more personal than that can it get….