Alok, UK Field Sales Manager, Silhouette
Introduction to Alok...
I have over 15 years’ experience in the UK optical industry. Having worked for several independent and multiple optical retailers as well as holding sales positions with Hoya and the Essilor Group, I was delighted to join Silhouette last year as UK field sales manager to help it launch the Silhouette Vision Sensation lens business in the UK.
Alok, tell us about Silhouette…
Outstanding Austrian quality! Silhouette is a fantastic company and our frames – and lenses - are absolutely top-notch. Very few other eyewear manufacturers in the present market can claim to be family businesses and still manufacture all its eyewear on site in Europe.
Silhouette is best known for its handcrafted, virtually weightless eyewear which features rimless, screw-less and hinge-less styles. Employing the finest materials to construct these innovative creations, we have revolutionised the eyewear market, amassing a global fan base in the process.
We are essentially masters of minimalism! We excel at creating the ultimate balance between lightness and strength.
Silhouette have recently launched their first ever range of lenses. Why did you decide to enter this market?
We wanted to create the ultimate visual experience for our customers. By being in control of producing the frame and the lenses we can achieve the perfect optical experience and perfect wearing comfort for every patient by bringing together the very best in premium frames and fully optimized lenses.
This means greater security and less risk for our opticians; they can be assured that the Silhouette frame and lenses they order are perfectly aligned to the precise measurements and prescriptions of their patients.
This also means a quicker lead time for our opticians as our lenses are produced at the same factory in Austria. We aim to dispatch frames and lenses within 96hrs anywhere within Europe.
What's the biggest challenge within your position as UK Field Sales manager?
The optical lens market is extremely competitive. Not only consumers, but also dispensers, are often confused with variety of lens options in the market. Adding and promoting another lens brand is therefore a tricky task in an already crowded market.
Most opticians are hesitant to swap a lens design for their patients. Our biggest challenge is therefore to convince our opticians to see the advantages and benefits of a "one stop shop" approach with Silhouette. Traditionally when opticians look at a pair of spectacles for their patient, they often think of 3 different suppliers; the frame manufacturer, lens manufacturer and then the glazing house. It is rare that all three will work in a synergy and they won't look at the end product the same way as we do at Silhouette.
Our lens design and frame parameters are set up in order to achieve one of the most optimised and personalised lens design for the consumer. We can therefore confidently convince the optician that regardless of the existing lens design for the patient, our combination of Silhouette lens shape and lens design is the most optimised free form lens they can have for their patients.
The feedback and results so far have been phenomenal. We have been producing frames for 50+ years very successfully so my challenge now is to replicate that same customer loyalty and respect within our new lens business.
What differentiates your new lens range to your competitors?
We can guarantee 100% optical integrity of the entire optical product. By producing our own lenses, we are in a position to produce perfectly tailor-made spectacles for our opticians which tends to guarantee higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
With perfectly harmonised frames and lenses, the patients don't just see better, they even look better as well!
We believe in maintaining the comfort and aesthetic of the frames without compromising the optical integrity of the spectacles. As we know all the parameters of our lens shapes, we can optimise our specially developed progressive lens design to the edge of the lens shape allowing the distance area of the lenses to be as large as possible.
This results in extremely low distortion and higher peripheral vision. This is ideal for first time wearers or patients swapping from an existing lens design to our lens design. Our focus is on perfectly adjusted spectacles. The lenses are optically adjusted to the base curve of the frame. This allows the optician complete peace of mind. Our unique ‘Clear SensationTM’ coating is specially designed to keep the coloured reflection that results from the layer structure and refraction at the edge of the lenses to a minimum.
Do you believe events such as 100% Optical still play an important role within the UK market?
Absolutely. I think it’s important for the industry to come together to network, learn, get inspired and as an added bonus - have fun! 100% Optical is always a highlight of the year for us.