October 10, 2008

Vision Expo "Best of Show"

I had a very busy and productive three days at Vision Expo. Between meetings with current clients, prospective clients and magazine editors my dance card was full! With me at the show were Jennifer Anderson, our business manager and Jeff Cary, our architect. We were like the three musketeers scouring the show for the newest and best display products and frame lines. Here are my picks for "Best of Show."

New frame lines:

David Yurman - This jewelry designer is so well known and admired among the wealthy that he doesn't need to plaster his name or logo on the frames. And he actually designs the frames himself, unlike many designers who just license their name for use on a line designed by others. Yurman's frame designs have the same signature motifs and details as his jewelry, so those who know his jewelry recognize a Yurman frame immediately.

This is a very exclusive line with retail price points into the thousands, so it is definitely not for everyone. However, it is a great example of true luxury, elegance and sophistication. If your patients buy David Yurman jewelry, they will buy David Yurman eyewear.

Shanghai Tang - China's first brand name designer launched his first line of eyewear at the show. Each style is embellished with intricate metal details inspired by traditional Chinese jewelry, coins and art, each with it's own story. The combination of very wearable frame shapes with delicate symbolic ornamentation is a real winner. I loved these frames so much, I bought one for myself.

You only have to buy 28 frames to get their gorgeous showcase. It looks like a lacquered Chinese chest and comes with a red-tassled hand mirror. The silk brocade cases for these frames are a work of art on their own. Retail price points start around $300. With the great presentation and intriguing story behind these frames, you should have no problem selling them to patients who want something different and unique.

Andy Wolf - I don't often get excited by a men's frame line, but this one out of Austria really wowed me. The shapes are strong and masculine; some styles are thick and heavy but done with sophisticated European style that makes a man look absolutely great. Engineers, artsy and tech types will dig these frames.

Brand Identity Stand Out
Kio Yamato - If you carry this line, make sure your sales rep gets you the wonderful brand identity display piece shown in the photo. It is eye-catching and beautiful and really does a great job of communicating the essence of the brand. As you see in the photo you just place this display with the frames and you don't need anything else. Simple. Stylish. That's great merchandising.

The Shadowless Frame Display
Fashion Optical has been touting their "shadowless" frame display panels, but frankly, I didn't believe it until I saw it for myself. It works like magic. The panels look like textured glass, but they are actually acrylic made with a patented process. The t-shaped open temple frame supports show the frames very well, but normally has a lot of shadowing behind them.

The material somehow absorbs light and diffuses the shadows caused by intense halogen lighting and makes them disappear. Result? No more busy distracting shadows behind the frames. A great and unique product available only through Fashion Optical Displays.

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