Optical Stories from our “Hood” – Optylux goes Hybrid

Helmut Igel at his new Optylux location

Optylux is one of our original sponsors and the owner, Helmut Igel is a long time friend. Cathy and he worked together in another lifetime when they were both at Neostyle. We have long admired Helmut’s tenacity, his ability to juggle a beach lifestyle, family and business and always wear a smile. He is smiling more now because his workplace is one block from the beach and down the road from his house.

As many of you know, it has not been easy to be a small business owner, especially in the optical industry these last 3 years. We are featuring Helmut and Optylux today because this company is a great example of being flexible, creative all without comprising customer service or cutting corners.

Not so long ago the company’s lease ran out and Helmut needed to move the company to another location. Rather than going to office and warehouse space as before he has taken the bold step of opening a combined retail space/showroom along with offices and warehouse – a hybrid if you like. The company’s showroom is now open to the optical consumer. There is a full time optician on staff and referrals to local optometrists. Helmut says “Optylux has created an Optylux Dealer network in San Diego and Orange County where our accounts can send their patients to our showroom to choose a frame and we send the frame to the account to process the order. We are also letting our accounts use our showroom as place where they can have their patients bring some of their friends and have an eyewear party.”

Optylux Art Couture from Flair Eyewear

Helmut also lets other groups use the showroom to have meetings or parties. Helmut wanted to have a different eyewear experience and offers wine, champagne and cappuccinos while the patient is designing their Flair Custom frame or checking out how the Ete frames are made with real feathers.  “Come back and stay for awhile” that is his motto.  Since Optylux is located in Solana Beach which has a train station, they have accounts in Orange County that come down by train and Helmut picks them up and takes them to the showroom to see the complete collections and then later they can enjoy Solana Beach’s attractions like the beach, Cedros Design Center, the high-end ladies consignment store next door (where I personally shop as well!)  It’s a day of fun.

As a lot of the Flair eyewear styles are available custom lens designs and accents it is good opportunity to demonstrate the nuances of lens tattooing, cut outs, stone inserts, facets etc. and to know that the fabrication is going to a local lab that can handle them. The retail environment enables Helmut and his staff to talk to optical consumers directly and get their feedback about certain designs and how the frames perform for the wearer.

The retail pricing for the optical customer is based on the same formula regardless whether the consumer buys directly from the Optylux retail location or another retailer.

We hope you enjoyed this Optical Story from our “Hood” – Optylux goes Hybrid. We would love to hear about optical in your “hood” too!



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