Pros and Cons Of Private Label Eyecare Products

What is private label? It is when a product is designed, manufactured or packaged for sale under the name of the retailer rather than that of the manufacturer.’ Over the last several years it appears that Eyecare professionals have many more options in the Private Label sector: eyewear, eyeglass accessories and maybe some contact lenses if they went directly to the manufacturer.

When you think private label, think Kirkland (CostCo) Kenmore (Sears) are all private label products that are manufactured by others and resold under their name. Even Amazon is getting into Private label branding!

Most optical products today are bought directly from the manufacturer or through a distributor. If there is enough volume, some will ‘private label’ your name or whatever name you prefer on the products.

Advantages;

  • Preventable measure against showrooming or online shopping.
  • Create Brand Awareness for your office.
  • Usually lower in price than branded products.
  • Deal directly with suppliers, styles and quality are your own.
  • Packaging to support your branding.
  • Profitable
  • Exclusivity

Disadvantages

  • It’s your stock and you own it. No returns, no exchanges.
  • Quality: You have to warranty the frame and lenses. You have to deal with broken frames
  • Is the manufacturer approved by the FDA. Eyewear is known as a medical device and subject to certain standards.
  • Perception: Customers may feel a private label is not the same quality?
  • Can you support Minimum orders?
  • No brand support with vendors
  • Larger inventory usually needed.
  • Will insurance cover it?
  • Packaging? Cases, clothes etc.

What to consider:

  1. Do you know your market and demographics?
  2. What market segment are you going after?
  3. Is this just another Me Too look?
  4. Who is going to design the product or are you going to out-source?
  5. What are you trying to achieve? Branding, product control, show-rooming?
  6. Are you going to sell the product on line?
  7. Are you going to wholesale the product?
  8. What are your goals for this product category?
  9. Who is going to make the product.
  10. How much time do you have to put into this. Finding the right supplier, shipping, customs, inventory management, sales, marketing, branding, quality control, pricing, merchandising?
  11. Look at your competition, how do you compare with them?

There are many, many optical companies all over the world that offer private label. We are only listing independent companies that have an office in the United States and many attend Vision Expo. There are many options available in other countries and via AliBaba.

Note: CE, FDA and ISO. Eyewear is classified as a medical device

Who Offers Private label? 

You can google private label eyewear and many manufacturers will come up whether they are distributors or you want to go direct to the manufacturer, usually in Asia. (check out alibaba). You can also ask your current suppliers if they have a private label program. Some will, of course there are minimums. The advantage of going direct to a current supplier, is they can support breakage.

Lenses:  As we have seen in Lens Wars, there are many companies in the marketplace that will most likely do a private label. In fact Free Form lenses can be made into PL. On the other hand, why not check out the following companies for their private label options

  • Fast Grind (Super Systems) all in one surfacing equipment. You can name the lenses anything you want! (Attend Vision Expo)
  • VisionWest: offer private label Hoya Lenses

Clip On’s

  • Chemistrie/ Eyenavision – In house clip on fabrication and again you can label them anything you want as long as it is not a trademarked name. (Attend Vision Expo_

Frames: This is the biggest category in Private Label:

No matter what you should do ‘Private label eyewear accessories.

  • Modern Optical– (Roselle, IL) Cases and microfiber cleaning clothes,
  • Rons Optical– (California)Cases and Microfiber clothes, lens cleaners
  • Hilco – (MA)Cases and Cleaning clothes, lens cleaners
  • We Love Eyes (CA) Natural eye make up remover

Resources

Private Label Strategy: How to Meet the Store Brand Challenge by Nirmalya Kumar.

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