Something Different – Issue 2

 

Newsletter Masthead Jan 2014The “something different” newsletter for artistic eyewear professionals!
Issue 2 – February 2014

 

 

Look for the good in others and pay them a compliment.

By Sue Kleinsasser – Sales Representative/Business Manager
Giving a meaningful compliment is a lost art. While I learned years ago in a Dale Carnegie class how to properly give a compliment that means something, somehow in the ‘busyness’ of life, it has waned. We tend to give a little flattery or do a little brown-nosing here and there, i.e.: ‘I like your hair’ or ‘I like your handbag’. But those are not words that leave a lasting impression. The next time you want to show appreciation to those around you, be thoughtful in your words. Here are three ways to help you give a meaningful compliment:

* Be specific, genuine and succinct. Hone in on a specific achievement or aspect and focus your words on that. Focus on personal strengths and back up your statements. Evidence gives you credibility and believability so people know the compliments are sincere. Rather than “you did a great job”, perhaps you could say, “You have a way of explaining things that is easy for me to understand. Not everyone has such a gift.”

* Be patient. Giving the perfect complement means waiting for the perfect moment. If you are forcing the words, your recipient can feel that it is not genuine. It’s not about flattery or exaggerated praise – which has the giver’s best interest at heart – it’s more appreciated when it’s timely and genuine.

* Be yourself. You don’t need to be a whole new person and start dishing out compliments to co-workers and folks off the street. It’s important to possess some self-confidence when you deliver a meaningful complement. Learning how to give these types of compliments will also make you a better – and more appreciative – recipient when you are given a compliment.

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Our Frame Picks

reno.1358.c3

If you are looking for a compliment, you are certain to receive one when you wear this Jean Reno 1358 by Cendrine O. Shown here in all three colors (seriously… you and your patients will want all of them!), it is funky but modern.

reno.1358.c1

Multi-colored in green, brown or red, you will love the mixture of matte and shiny acetates. Uplifting with the slight cat eye shape and a unique temple design. Show this piece of to those patients who want something uncommon. Order your kit today. Contact your rep, call us or email us at salesinfo@zig-eyewearusa.com.

reno.1358.c2

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Staff Matters

By Sue Kleinsasser – Sales Representative/Business Manager

When you are showing eyewear to your patient, giving positive feedback and ultimately compliments requires practice and thoughtful consideration. And keep in mind, there are two distinct differences.

Compliment the frame when it’s on the board or in your hand. Show the magnificence of the frame by highlighting the details in such a way that you are also sharing the features and advantages of the frame itself. Talk about the mix of metal and acetate and how gorgeous the end result is. Show the two color palette (outside and inside of frame) and how their friends will see the beauty of it when it is on the patient’s face.

Compliment the patient when it’s on their face. ‘It looks stunning’ becomes “You look stunning”. To make the comment more meaningful, share one feature of the frame and why it looks stunning on the patient. For instance “I love the color of this frame. It really makes your blue eyes pop!” Another example might be “I really like the temple off the top of the frame. It’s uplifting and gives your face a little smile.”

And be certain to give your patient a sincere closing statement. “You are going to LOVE your new eyewear and I know you are going to receive many compliments on them. I can’t wait to hear all about them.”

Why NOT More Than One Pair?

Have you ever considered buying eyewear like you buy your shoes? barbie-shoes-colors-cute-doll-rainbow-shoes-Favim.com-84552

Humor me for a few minutes here.

We’re pretty much required to wear shoes.  You can’t go into most public buildings without them, it’s illegal to drive without them, and let’s face it – walking around barefoot is uncomfortable.  So, shoes could easily be categorized as a “quality of life accessory item” in most circles.

I don’t know many people that only own one pair of shoes in their entire wardrobe.  (Those people exist, sure. But, I think we can agree that they’re pretty rare.)  There are shoes for different occasions. For certain weather conditions. To make us comfortable. To make us feel good about ourselves. To help us reach our goals.  To protect our feet.

Why are there so many options?  Because there’s a demand.  Put simply, people want to fulfill their basic needs by their footwear.

That’s the simple answer, of course.  But according to statistics from The National Shoe Retailers Association, casual and dress shoe sales for men and women make up over 45% of all purchases made.  It’s no secret – we purchase shoes for fashion as well as utility.

Now apply that same thinking to eyewear.  We wear glasses to correct our vision. To protect our eyes from harm.  If you can’t see clearly, wearing vision correction of some sort (glasses or contact lenses) falls into the “quality of life accessory item” category as well.

There’s no shortage in choices for eyewear.  You can get anything you want – color, size, shape, material, style, etc.  So, why do eyewear customers traditionally only have one pair of glasses to wear?

Eyewear can change your entire look.  It can accent an outfit.  Eyewear can change how you feel about yourself and how others view you.

The next time you want a new pair of glasses (notice we said “want” – not “need”) – ask yourself, why NOT more than one pair?  Your answer may surprise you.

Everything’s Right In Front of You.

Google's Project Glass prototype eyewear (courtesy Google Images)

You probably haven’t missed Google’s recent announcement of the testing of Project Glass, the ground-breaking augmented reality glasses that puts the features of your smartphone front and center in a heads-up display (HUD) directly in front of your eyes.

As expected, the reports of other eyewear companies working on similar technologies are following on the heels of Google’s announcement.  The week, Oakley Inc., reported that they are working on this type of augmented reality for their signature sunglasses, marketed towards athletes.

In today’s world of smartphones and information obtainable at a swipe of a finger, there’s definitely a market for the next phase of mobile computing – putting it literally in front of your face.  It definitely gets rid of the head-bowed, distracted people walking along the streets or (cringe!) the bobbing head of a person driving on the highway while also using their phone.  While we’re out in the world, our phones have replaced printed maps, cameras, and the need to have a computer nearby (just to name a few big benefits).

Looking at the image of the prototype for Project Glass, there are no lenses in the frames.  That begs the obvious question, “Well, what about those of us that wear prescription eyewear?”  After the initial announcement, this was later addressed by Isabelle Olsson, a member of the Project Glass team, that they are “….experimenting with designs that are meant to be extendable to different types of frames.”

I’m still scratching my head over this one.  Prescription eyewear users are an afterthought with this project?  The whole point of wearing glasses is to correct poor eyesight, and the point of wearing sunglasses is to protect the eyes against damaging ultraviolet rays.  Wouldn’t eyeglass wearers be the primary audience here?

Now, I’m a bit of a tech geek, so I get that there’s the huge challenge of even creating this kind of technology alone.  It’s hard enough to create a heads-up display that works perfectly.  Throw in the complicated world of vision-correcting on top of all of that, and there’s a high potential for minds being blown to pieces.  But, when there are more people in the world that need vision correction in the world than have perfect vision, I can’t imagine that there aren’t some glasses-wearers on Project Glass’ team and that their internal dialogue wasn’t piping up and asking, “Hey, what about someone like me?”

I’m sure a company like ours will pose an interesting challenge to Project Glass’ design team – when your glasses have no standard lens or frame shape, how will this fit on any design of glasses?  Will eyewear designers begin to adapt their creations to accommodate this shift in available technology, or will the tech market be the ones to adapt to the existing eyewear industry?  Only time will tell as the new advances in wearable technology begin to evolve.

Another interesting topic to consider – as eyewear continues to evolve from the negative perception it used to have of being unattractive and nerdy, companies that specialize in fun, funky glasses are gaining more fans as eyeglass wearers look for something different in their frames.  It stands to reason that fashion vs. function could become a big consideration in deciding which type of frames to buy.  When was the last time you bought glasses and considered what kind of technology could attach to it?  For most of us, that answer is probably “never”.  It may feel strange to imagine it, but I’m guessing that it won’t be too far off in the future.

In the meantime, fun eyewear owners, make sure you’re watching where you’re going when you’re walking and looking up directions to that great gyro place on your phone.  Nothing smarts more than a lightpole in the face.

The Fun and Excitement of Vision Expo.

Well, it certainly has been an exciting and busy few weeks recently!

Boxes and bags take over the breakroom!

We’ve been very quiet on our blog lately, and that’s because we have been preparing for, and attending, Vision Expo East in New York.

We wanted to post some photos of our preparation, and our booth at Vision Expo for you to enjoy.

A big task of our trade show preparation involves reorganizing all of our sample suitcases so we can bring them with us.  Because our suitcases are always full of samples, when Cendrine releases new designs for each Vision Expo we have to create space for them.  This mean that everything comes out, the trays are reorganized and relabeled, and then the frames goes back in.  Six suitcases (3 for ZIGGY and 3 for Jean Reno) are rearranged before we travel.

Then, it’s off to Vision Expo with lots of luggage!  We always get some interesting looks at the airport each time we make the Vision Expo expedition, but it leads to some fun conversations.  On our way home this year, we had a blast with some of the United ticket agents in New York’s LaGuardia airport, talking about the excitement of wearing cool glasses!

The beautiful sitting area in our booth.

This year in New York, we were able to have a larger booth, double the size of previous years.  It allowed us a sitting area where we could host visitors and offer them espresso or cappuccino.

Once the show starts, we get the enjoyment of greeting current retailers, and meeting many eyecare professionals who have just discovered our brand, and are amazed to see it up close.  The amounts of times we hear, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” or “These are amazing – look how cool these are!” never gets old.  We keep mirrors close by on every display table and countertop, so visitors can try on the frames and see how amazing they look being worn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are located in the Galleria section of Vision Expo, which is for designers and creator brands.  The decor is bright pink, vibrant, and colorful.  The term “eye candy” couldn’t be more fitting for this locale!

We hope you enjoyed this little tour through our trade show experience.  Have questions on how this all comes together?  Leave us a comment and ask us!

Our (surprising) love for Pinterest.

I admit that I’m a social media skeptic.  Not that I don’t use social media outlets – I actually have a minor obsession with checking Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ on a regular basis. However, I’m picky about what social media outlets I use, and how I can find it useful in my everyday life and for our business.

I started hearing people talk about Pinterest with a fervor about a month ago.  When I first decided to sit down and take a look at it, I was a little confused.  An online… pinboard?  This is what’s got people whipped into a frenzy as big as $199 LCD TVs on Black Friday?  This social media skeptic scoffed pretty loudly.

But, I wanted to give it a decent overview, so I started looking at what people were pinning.  Everything.  Anything.  A wild nail color someone wanted to try.  A cute wedding photograph idea.  A recipe for chocolate peanut-butter sheer-happiness brownies.  A picture of Ryan Gosling, captioned, “Yes, please!”  Somewhere, the “I must see more” part of my brain went bonkers, and I just keep looking to see more pins… more pins…  They sucked me in.

I’m not alone.  There are over 2 million daily users of Pinterest, and that number is growing rapidly (source).

I thought it’d be fun for us to create our own Pinterest page for the ZIGGY® and Jean Reno brands.  I was not prepared for the sheer excitement that was about to come my way.  Just moments after putting up my first few photos, I started getting e-mails telling me just how many people liked my pins (a lot), and who had repinned them on their own boards (a lot more).  It was like trying to stop after eating one potato chip… once you open the bag, you can’t stop.  I pinned more and more, and got more and more e-mails.  No wonder this site is so fun!  Instant gratification!  Acknowledgement that people are finding what you post, and that they like it!

After my initial post indulgence day, I found it necessary to put myself on a Pinterest “diet”, and only post a few photos every few days, so I don’t overdo it and completely neglect everything else about my job.

So, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be searching for something to pin that reminds me to post in moderation. :)

(Take a look at our Pinterest page and start following our boards: http://pinterest.com/ZIGEyewearUSA.  We take no responsibility for the addiction that is soon to come!)

Pay it forward.

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry about that!  We’ve been incredibly busy in growth stages of our business, which is an awesome problem to have.  Unfortunately it hasn’t left as much time as I’ve wanted to write posts, but I’m going to work really hard to make sure we post more often.

I wanted to share a story of inspiration for you today.

Our sales rep who works in Florida held a trunk show yesterday at one of our new clients’ optical store.  After the show, he called me to tell me a story.

He described an elderly woman who came in to the store after the trunk show ended. She came in to pick up her new glasses. She was frail and moved slowly through the store, showing signs of having previously had a stroke.  She said her church had dropped her off, and she was being picked up by someone else after she got her new glasses.

The store’s sales associate had the very difficult task of having to tell the customer that she still had an outstanding balance of $40 remaining for her glasses. “But, I don’t have any money,” replied the elderly woman sadly.  The associate was very apologetic and sympathetic to the situation, but she was not able to give the woman the glasses until the balance was paid. The elderly woman said, “But I thought I paid it all. I don’t have money now.” She walked away from the counter, disoriented and sad, not knowing what to do.

Our sales rep said he walked to the counter, handed the associate $40, and said, “Give me the glasses.” He approached the elderly woman and said, “Ma’am, you’re in luck! We had a trunk show today and had a drawing to give away someone’s glasses for free. Well, guess what? You won!”

“Really?” she said incredulously. “I haven’t won ANYTHING in such a long time! I really won?”

“Yes ma’am, you surely did,” he replied, handing the woman her glasses.

“Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. I never win anything!”

He described her shaking her head in awe, repeating, “Wow… isn’t that amazing… I never win anything” until she was picked up.

The rep told me simply, “I had a good day today. I feel like, if I had a good day, someone else deserved to have one, too.”

We were all nearly in tears when I relayed this story to our team.

We have amazing people who work for us, and we are proud to do what we do every day!

Our first interview!

It’s always rewarding to see your hard work paying off in a positive way.

I met Lynnette Grande, the Director of Advertising Sales for Eyecare Professional Magazine, this year while we were at the International Vision Expo in New York.  Lynnette and I had a great conversation outside our booth, discussing Cendrine’s designs and trying on our favorites for ourselves.  (I have too many favorites, by the way!)  At the time, we were not officially ZIG Eyewear USA, but that wasn’t too far off.  Lynnette and I stayed in touch, e-mailing and speaking via phone about how things were coming along with our company’s progress.

When I received a call from Lynnette in mid-November, I had no idea what an amazing opportunity she had for us.  Each month, Eyecare Professional spotlights a particular business in the optical industry, and interviews a member of their team for their magazine.  Their scheduled feature interviewee was unavailable to complete the interview by the publishing deadline, so Lynnette thought of us as an up-and-coming eyewear company in the United States market.  Would we be interested in being a part of this feature?  Um, yes please!

Natasha, our Business Director, was interviewed for this article, and we’re really excited to share it with you.

Here’s the link to our article.

In addition to this interview, one of our ZIGGYs is also mentioned in the frames feature of the magazine.  Here’s the link to the feature, and here’s the frame.  It’s one of Cendrine’s newest designs, and it’s already a top seller!

ZIGGY 1182 in blue/turquoise

Thanksgiving and taglines.

One of the great things about working with retailers is the opportunity to take part in their trunk shows.  Optical retailers do a great job in promoting and inviting customers to their trunk shows, and it’s a great opportunity for a new product such as ours to get an audience.

Everything always seems to happen all at once, doesn’t it?  Our reps happened to get two trunk shows scheduled within the same week in different parts of the country.

One of the big things on our to-do list has been to create promotional posters for retailers.  With two trade shows coming up fast, we pushed that to-do item to the top of the list this month.  We wanted to have something to help our retailers promote our lines, and to assist them in advertising the trade shows.

Since we’d already had our epiphany that trying to combine both eyewear brands on one piece of a point of purchase (POP) display doesn’t make much sense, we set off to put together a design/print/shipping plan to complete two branded posters by the day before Thanksgiving.  It was a lofty goal, but we’ve done “impossible” deadlines before.  Just ask us some time about the catalog insert we did before the Las Vegas Vision Expo this year!

The Jean Reno design?  Quick and easy.  We have great photographs of Mr. Reno to use, and had already established a strong tagline: The Impact of Fame.

But when it came to the ZIGGY® design, it wasn’t as easy as we’d thought.  We have great model photos for the ZIGGY® line, so that was pretty quick to put together.  It was the tagline that tripped us up.  How do you encompass the essence of this wildly unique eyewear brand in just a few words?

After debating on and off for a couple of days, we finally asked our graphic designer if she would try putting “Something Different.” under our imagery.  When we opened the revised file, our eyes lit up.  Sometimes, just saying it like it is makes the biggest impact.  This eyewear is something different.

One of many things we were very thankful for last week was our amazing graphic designer and printing company.  They came through for us again, and we met our goal to be completed by the day before Thanksgiving.

Here’s the finished products.  What do you think?

ZIGGY® by Cendrine O. poster, side 1
ZIGGY® by Cendrine O. poster, side 2
Jean Reno by Cendrine O. poster (both sides)

The challenges of eyewear branding.

I don’t think anyone can argue that branding is a challenge, no matter what kind of business you’re running.  Start speaking philosophically on a brand that you think you know really well sometime.  My guess is your brain will start to get a little mushy around the edges after a while.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – just that it isn’t always as easy as it looks on the surface.

The topic of branding has come up a lot around our office lately because we’ve been working on some designs for postcards to advertise upcoming trunk shows.  It sounded like an easy task at first, but it brought up some pretty deep philosophical discussions about how we brand ourselves, and how our brand is perceived.

I’ll back up a couple of steps and give the 30-second version of who we are, and how we’re structured.

We have one designer who creates all of our frames: Cendrine O.  Cendrine designs two eyewear lines – ZIGGY® by Cendrine O. and Jean Reno by Cendrine O.  The two lines are housed under the company ZIG Eyewear.

When we first took on the line as the US sales and service team, our first instinct was to create our marketing materials focused on the name ZIG Eyewear, because it’s the umbrella that covers both brands. It seemed to make sense…our website is www.zig-eyewear.com.  We set up a Facebook page and a Twitter feed named around ZIG Eyewear USA.  That should be enough recognition, right?  Not so much.  What we didn’t anticipate is that our customers tend to recognize us as individual brands – not the parent company that houses it.  When we talk to anyone who has been introduced to or worn our glasses, they refer to them as “ZIGGY glasses” or “Jean Reno glasses”.   Sometimes, you can’t predict how people will recognize and remember your brand, and sometimes, looking back, the evidence is there all along.  When the retail displays and the glasses all have ZIGGY® by Cendrine O. printed on them, how can the customer make that connection to ZIG Eyewear?

It was a good lesson for us to learn, and one we used while designing postcards for trunk shows.  Even if a retailer carries both brands in their store, ZIG Eyewear is not how the customer recognizes the frames.  It doesn’t make any sense to design a postcard that says “ZIG Eyewear” to draw a customer in to visit a trunk show – they should be distinctly branded as either ZIGGY® by Cendrine O or Jean Reno by Cendrine O.

Another lesson learned – branding is something you can’t ever fully check off your list when you’re running and building a business.  Even if you reach the point where you feel like you’ve gotten to where you need to be, there is always a need to reassess your branding position periodically.

And for us, we now have some lovely postcards for trunk shows being printed that speak much better to the brands they’re promoting. :)