Maybe eyeglasses don’t create an actual “muffin top” but there are millions of sore ears, headaches, rubbed noses and wonky ill-fitting eyeglasses which are just as bad as all those muffin tops caused by ill-fitting jeans! Sylvie Putman, ABOC of Pro-Style Optical in Lubbock, Texas has made it her mission to put a stop to the equivalent of muffin top faces by ensuring all her customers wear the best fitting and most flattering eyewear possible.
I heard about the amazing Sylvie from Natalie Ligon, marketing manager for MODO Eyewear. We were discussing how many people don’t realize the importance of treating the fit of eyeglasses the same way as clothing. For example you wouldn’t buy a pair of jeans that cut into your thighs or stomach, so why would you buy a pair of eyeglasses, something you wear every day without having them fit correctly. Natalie went on to tell me about Sylvie and how she does brilliant things with eyeglass frames like custom tinting and that her eye for fit is incredible.
Of course of wanted to talk to Sylvie so I called her. I found her enthusiasm and passion for what she does quite powerful, so much so that my husband who was at his desk near me during the phone interview asked me who I was talking to as I was obviously enthralled! Here is a little of what she told me.
She and her husband Darin are the owners of Pro-Style Optical in Lubbock, Texas. They are very busy providing 35-40 customers a day with custom fit eyewear including many low vision patients. Sylvie told me she had just fit a -19/-14 patient using Hoya’s Free Form iD – integrated double surface design lens. Darin trained with A.I.T. Industries and Santinelli and runs Pro-Style’s own Santinelli ME1200 as well as other equipment including producing lots of Chemistrie magnetic clips for sunwear, 3D and magnification. Sylvie says that that many people like the magnification clip for computer work as well as a sunglass clip.
OVS: “How do you bring in so many customers, do you advertise?”
SP: “We don’t do a lot of advertising; most of our customers are from word of mouth, friends and family. People wearing our products are the best advertisement. We have a lot of repeat customers and some even drive 6 hours to get here and a few fly in to see us!”
OVS: “What makes them come to you specifically?”
SP: “We have a very large selection of frames, over 2500. They come for expert help for customized fit, style and color. We understand the different bridge shapes and sizes, nose pads and how they fit and feel. We take a lot of different measurements and can make adjustments and customize for the individual. We provide custom drill mounts, stones, facets, laser etching and we make sure the lenses work with the frame and Rx. Our customers cannot get the service we provide from a typical chain retailer and certainly not via the Internet so they come to us and then they send us their friends and family.”
OVS: “How do you see so many people a day yet provide that kind of personalized service”
SP: “We don’t make appointments and we only take a couple of insurance plans which saves a lot of time. We fabricate most of our own eyewear on site using superior lens materials like Trivex and 1.67 high index which keeps quality standards high. Plus we work long days!
OVS: “How do you select colors for Pro-Style customers?”
SP: – “I look at skin tone and for colors that are vibrant and flattering; I am all about color, turquoise, orange, reds …..not about matching hair with gold, silver or grey! I might even change the color of a frame tinting it myself so that it is just right for the person’s skin tone.”
OVS: “Why do you think so many optical customers end up with ill -fitting eyewear?”
SP: “Training – you have to know the optics and understand how to take the right measurements, if the eyecare provider does not have well trained support staff, the customer suffers. Even if the measurements and Rx are correct but the bridge of the frame is too big and/or the frame is not adjusted right the customer will never be comfortable or have optimal vision correction. I often tell my customers: You only get one pair of eyes, you wear these glasses everyday why should you wear something that is uncomfortable. It’s like wearing a pair of shoes that are too small, which cause pain, blisters & corns.”
OVS: “How do you compete with discount pricing and 2 for 1 type deals?”
SP: “Some people do come in with a lower price expectation but I tell them to go shop and compare, making sure it is an “apples to apples” comparison. 95 -98% of them come back to us as they see the value of what we do”
OVS: “What is the most important aspect of your work?”
SP: “Helping people see well and look great regardless of their budget. Learning new techniques and sharing, I love to share.”
It was a pleasure talking to Sylvie, I hope to meet her in person one of these days and maybe even get some of her expert help with my eyewear!