Tell us about Sinead McGurk Opticians…

We are a design led optometric practice in a rural market town in Northern Ireland. This year, we have invested heavily in infrastructure and technology, and now work in a bespoke, Architect design, branding and the wow factor! This reflects our passion for the profession. The team’s mission is to dispense fabulous eyewear tailored to individual personalities, with the best lenses.

You attended the very first 100% Optical and again in 2016. How’s the show changed?

At the first 100% I was grabbed immediately by the well organised lay out, and by the ease in which I could navigate any way around. In 2016, the format of the layout with the various ‘hubs’ was retained, but there seemed to be more exhibitors, which was great. Of course the bar was hit with everyone! I’d say that was the place where most the networking was done, and connections made. 

What are the most exciting trends in eyewear at the moment?

Brightly coloured acetates seem to be a new trend, which I have found my patients eager to embrace. Natural products such as horn really are classic and their designs are usually such that they never date. Fabulous new trends of using textiles such as velvet, leather and wood products in spectacle frames are brilliant and very imaginative.

What are the main challenges facing independent opticians?

There is increasing pressure on independent opticians to ‘differentiate’ so as to survive and thrive on today’s high street. Many independents are owned/ managed by the resident Optometrist. It is extremely challenging to find the time to promote the business, do marketing, merchandising and attend trade shows to keep abreast of the latest trends and technology – never mind professional development and CET!!

What have been your main reasons for attending? Did you achieve your aim?

My reason in attending the first 100%, was to get ‘out there’ and see what was new and happening in the world of optics. I wanted something different for my practice and to improve on what I felt was the run of the mill fare in spectacle frames. In 2016 I attended along with my architect specifically to carry out research and meet exhibitors dealing with retail design, shop fittings and finishes. Both trips were highly successful, as we met Retail Experience Design who collaborated with us on our new store.

Would you recommend other independent opticians attending?

I would highly recommend 100% to all in the profession. 100% showcases what is new and happening in the world of optics. I find it re-invigorating and empowering. 

Most importantly, will be you attending this year? If so, what are you looking forward to?

Yes, I’ll be there in February again. I’m looking forward to coming home with something new and fresh from London once more- and having a bit of craic while I’m at it.

Visit Retail Experience Design at 100% Optical on stand B143