Louise Barrington, owner of Barnabys Opticians based in Bournemouth talks about the challenges facing the optical industry in the coming years and why they choose 100% Optical to do business.
1. What is the name of your practice and where is it based?
Barnabys, Bournemouth, We are in the centre of the town.
2. How would you best describe your practice ethos?
Happy, friendly, fun and DIFFERENT!
3. What is your own background?
My husband and I are both dispensing opticians. I decided to become a D.O after a week’s work experience at an independent optician when I was about 13. My husband fell into optics, he has a business and sales background.
4. What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?
Motivation determination and spirit. If its not fun why are you doing it?
5. Describe a typical working day in your life
Always starts with turning on the coffee machine and getting the kettle going! Ready for the arrival of patients. Opening post, checking and advising intermingled with collections adjustments, repairs, chats, meeting greeting, listening, dispensing and fulfilling patients wishes, meeting needs and hopefully going the extra mile. Then its home time again another day has flown past.
6. What challenges do you see facing the optical industry in the coming years?
We are fortunate or determined depending on your views and have kept our Plano sun business but the fight with the internet, cheap products and laser surgery is always around. The much publicised decline of the high street hurts footfall and reduces natural growth. To survive we need to offer an experience to everyone who walks in. The NHS is coming under increasing pressure and we can imagine ever more responsibility being passed over to practitioners, possibly at reduced remuneration, this is something to be aware of. We see lots of independents who are coming up to retirement age with no succession plans in place, there is simply not the market for them all to be sold on to other independents, so many will get swallowed up but chains or simply shut down.
7. Why do you choose 100% Optical to buy your frames and equipment for your practice?
It is just a lovely show offering greater variety than some other events.
8. You participated in the 100% Optical VIP buyers programme.
What was your overall experience of this? It was a wonderful experience. It made attending the show so much easier and more relaxed, which probably made us more inclined to spend! I would defiantly recommend the programme to any busy independent.
9. What factors do you consider when buying frames and equipment?
Do I need it? Do I want it? Will it grow the business? Do I like/trust the person selling it? With frames how do they fit with our existing offering?
10. What is your proudest career achievement in the last 12 months?
Taking on a Cartier account, the investment is quite sizable and the demand something of an unknown but so far it is working well for us.