vision Now December 2018

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Opticians abroad: ROCHESTER NY AND BRUSSELS By Joan Grady Optical has been with the creative person in mind. Each detail is meant to appeal to the senses.”

How people shop is changing; whether it’s eyewear or electrical appliances, customers are looking for something ‘different’ – an experience that is personal and with excellent service. Two enterprising opticians reveal their strategies to create successful boutiques. ONE HIP CHIC OPTICAL, ROCHESTER, NEW YORK George Eastman, the Kodak founder, brought jobs and culture to the industrial Northern New York State city of Rochester, nestled on Lake Ontario. The Eastman philanthropic endowment enhanced the University of Rochester, the renowned Eastman School of Music, and other institutions. However, like many downtown areas, Rochester’s landmarks, including Sibley’s Department Store, have closed in the last decades. This is why Tamra Asmuth, optician and owner of One Hip Chic Optical, says: “When I opened my optical boutique on the second floor of a building in downtown Rochester New York 21 years ago, people thought I was a bit crazy. Let’s face it, the second floor is not considered prime real estate. That I didn’t accept health insurance, sell

Cabinets at One Hip Chic Optical are custom crafted in cherry wood


Vision Now DECEMBER 2018

Tamra Asmuth, optician and owner of One Hip Chic

contact lenses or have a doctor on the premises, pretty much sealed the deal.” But the business thrived and Tamra decided to take another plunge. “Recently, I made another bold move. I purchased a new location for my business and spent six months overseeing the renovation of it. A large wall covered with custom-made wallpaper welcomes each visitor to One Hip Chic Optical. Underfoot, a plywood floor cut in a mosaic pattern will be a continuously changing art piece as layers of paint colours and textures are added.” She continues: “One of the first things I did when I purchased my new location [a house built in the 1930s] was to commission a local fine furniture maker to craft sets of drawers made of quality cherry wood. The drawers, each lined with handmade paper, house my frame inventory. I take orders at a custom-made stainless steel desk and dispense glasses at a glass desk. People can relax on a soft, pink velour couch. Since day one, every choice made at One Hip Chic

Independent labels are the highlight at One Hip Chic Optical. “I have long been a fan Frames at One Hip Chic Optical of Theo and are displayed in drawers on Anne & handmade paper Valentin and have recently fallen in love with styles from Blake Kuwahara. I also carry Colibris, the German label for small faces. At Silmo this year I happily discovered Metronome. I am continuously looking for a new and unique ‘voice’ in eyewear. “Over the years, I’ve studied colour palettes,” Tamra continues. “Through reading and collaboration with a local colour expert, I’ve grown each year with my knowledge in what colours complement individual complexions, hair and eye colour. I’m often educating my customers in what works and doesn’t Decor is sleek and comfortable for an elegant salon setting at work for the Rochester shop them. Did you know that black isn’t a complementary