In this interview with 100% Optical Julian Clarke the Commercial Global Director of Brando Eyewear highlights how the 5 fiercely independent brands they represent will be of interest to optical practices looking to offer a point of difference, high quality alternative to mainstream brand names.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the optical industry?
I currently live nr Woodstock, Oxford with my wife and four spirited children. Perhaps like many of your readers I entered optics quite by chance applying for a sales rep role with Caseco where I enjoyed 15years before I moved to Cutler and Gross working internationally for 3 years before joining the Brando vision.
Give us an introduction to Brando.
Brando emanates from the owner’s obsession for vintage eyewear. Michael Jardine discovered that the influential historical brands he collected were dormant – so he collected the rights to them as well. Where possible Michael also purchased the original archive of the original designers. Today Brando design and market beautiful optical and sun frames for 5 brands: Yohji Yamamoto, Sunday Somewhere, Alyson Magee, Phillippe Chevallier and Serge Kirchhofer.
What does the future hold for Brando?
Over the last few years we have been building an international base of agents and distributors for all brands - this is set to continue apace. Our consumers and optical partners demand excellent product and service – so our key to longevity and success is to focus above all on the excellence of the product itself and the service to those who purchase our products.
What challenges do you see facing the optical industry in the coming years?
With another industry merger in recent months the independence of the independent sector will be challenged further. The polarisation between those businesses that accept the demands of heavy-hitting brand names and those who resolutely defend their independence will widen. Opticians face key challenges in identifying alternative products that appeal to today’s social-media-driven high street consumer and new suppliers they can rely on and who can provide marketing support.
You have recently confirmed your stand at 100% Optical 2019. Where is your stand and who do you hope to meet at 100% Optical 2019?
Our stand is in the The Studio where we find ourselves amongst other like-minded self-declared stylish people! We hope to meet any optician seeking new and beautiful products they can be passionate about and enjoy dispensing and explaining to customers/patients. There are always opportunities for agents to discuss opportunities too. Hope to see you!