It seems like every time I get on the Internet another eyewear company is claiming BeSpoke Eyewear, so this is obviously becoming a huge trend in the optical industry and it makes eye sense. Eyewear designers and manufacturers creating limited edition, individualized, custom eyewear for discerning wearers.
What exactly is Bespoke? If you google it over 1,300,000 hits come up, so I had to turn to my favorite website, wikipedia to find out exactly what BeSpoke really means. Definitely an eye opener! Historically, BeSpoke was an English term for mens tailoring, but now it means any custom item made for the owner/wearers specifications. This is not ready to wear or mass production products. Traditionally Bespoke is English based but today many other industries outside mens clothing are using the Bespoke term including technology, cars, perfumes, furniture, shoes and of course Eyewear.
The advantages for eyecare retailers to carry Bespoke eyewear are numerous. Huge competitive advantage: Don’t have to worry about online companies and big box stores. Limited edition, you sell it and the sale is over, because the consumer has made it to order, appeals to discerning, cash pay patients, increased profit potential (Bespoke eyewear will run over $1000 at retail) and strong referral base of patients. Based upon the few consumer that have contacted us asking about a few of the eyewear companies we have listed in Optical Vision Resources, there is market potential as the consumer is looking for eyewear that looks and feels good and is made for them.
So who makes BeSpoke Eyewear and where do you get it? Good question, but first there are a few eyecare offices that do make their own and offer other eyecare products as well. There are some who only do BeSpoke collections, such as some of the Wood Eyewear companies. A list of handmade eyewear companies is available on Optical Vision Resources (listed are primarily eyewear companies in the USA). Some are Eco Friendly reusing old into new such as Lee Allen Eyewear out of Massachusetts.
BeSpoke Eyewear seems to be a bigger trend in Europe. Tom Davies (UK) Walter Wissing,(Denmark) both who exhibited at Vision Expo East, Michel Guillon (UK) Roger Henley (Australia) JB Handmade (UK) Kees Wennekendonk (Holland, ivory eyewear) Ralph Vaessen, and Brian Adams (New Zealand), Italy and France. Hackett Clothiers advertises it’s own Bespoke Eyewear collection and Oliver Goldsmith (UK)
A few optical/ eyecare retailers are advertising BeSpoke Eyewear such as Habackers in Plano, Texas, Paul Yaxley Luxury Eyewear in the UK , Eyestyles For Lifestyles in Lake Forest, California. Another example is Midas who is advertising online Bespoke Eyewear with rimless frames (how hard is that!)
So is this for the eyecare retailer? I think it is a strong trend and you will see more people/opticians and eyewear designers getting into it. But in order to sell and sell through BeSpoke Products you or someone in your office has to be really into eyewear. This is not the stick it on the frame board and see what happens type of product. It needs to be romanced and explained about individualization, quality and design. But if you are looking for products that are not mass produced, not on ebay or Amazon, check out a few of the companies and hear what they have to say.