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ONE HIP CHIC OPTICAL BY TAMRA ASMUTH I PHOTOS BY NATALIE SINISGALLI

The phone just rang here at One Hip Chic Optical. A new customer who’d picked up her first pair of glasses a month ago was calling to tell me how much she loves them. She said she’s been getting compliments from friends, family and even strangers nearly every day. I could hear the smile in her voice. I know this article is supposed to be about me. But, truth is, I’d rather start out by talking about us. I’m talking about you and me. I’m talking about that woman at the bank and that guy at the coffee shop. We might not know each other but I think we have at least one thing in common.

I guess not giving in to peer pressure may have set me up for success in business. Honestly, probably everything in my life set me up…and led me to…where I am today. I think that’s another thing we all have in common. I think we are each the culmination of our choices and experiences.

I think we all want to feel good about ourselves. We want to feel the way another customer of mine felt when a man 30 years her junior complimented her glasses and emphatically added, “YOU are still relevant.” My customers would tell you that they have a desire for uniqueness. They aren’t interested in the status quo. They probably never succumbed to peer pressure. I know I didn’t. Unless you count that time I went to Bambi Burnett’s* house and smoked cigarettes after promising my Dad I would never, ever smoke. But, I digress. 297

Long after my weekend of smoking at Bambi’s house, I got a part time job at an optical shop in the mall. Having ditched my aspiration of becoming a supermodel (true story), I was going to school for computer programming.

ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS EDITION 2019

But here, under the bright fluorescent lights at the mall, I fell in love with the optical business. For me, it was the perfect combination of science (learning what all those numbers mean on an eyeglass prescription and understanding anatomy and physiology of the eye) and art (knowing what frame shapes work with which face shapes and what prescriptions work well with which frames). I decided to quit going to school for computer programming and, instead, entered in to an apprenticeship to become a licensed optician. For three years, I studied the college books of a co-worker and learned the trade by my daily experience at the mall optical store. After passing my state board exams to become a licensed optician, I began work at private doctor’s offices. Though I may not have realized it at the time, I was honing my skills as an optician and as a business owner. Life experience should never be underrated. I was studying the way others conducted business in order to determine how I would. In many situations, I asked myself “How would I handle this if it were my decision?” Sometimes we learn who we are by realizing who we aren’t.

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RWO's WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS INSERT 2019  

In this AMAZING SPECIAL WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS INSERT of Rochester Woman Online, we are so proud to be able to feature amazing local woman owne...

RWO's WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS INSERT 2019  

In this AMAZING SPECIAL WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS INSERT of Rochester Woman Online, we are so proud to be able to feature amazing local woman owne...