Why You Should Choose a Boutique over Chain Store for Your Eyewear

When it comes to buying glasses, you have a lot of options. Not just in terms of colors, shapes, materials and lenses, but there are several places you can choose to buy your eyewear. As you might imagine, we have some thoughts on that subject. With so many choices and factors that go into this decision we wanted to share our perspective on why an eyewear boutique should be at the top of your list.

Support Small Business

According to Forbes the “United States is home to 28.8 million small businesses  — which accounts for 99.7% of all US businesses”. That’s a pretty high number! It’s easy to think that the US is made up mostly of Fortune 500 companies and multinational corporations. But the reality is, most businesses are entrepreneurial ventures trying to achieve the American dream. The big stores only became big through hard work, smart strategic decisions and customer loyalty. Even Walmart was once Walton's 5 & 10 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Sure, most of us visit chains and big box stores from time to time but there’s something to be said for supporting your fellow citizens by choosing a small business over the .3%.  

No Selling by Quota

Have you ever tried checking out of a store with one item and felt pressured by a salesperson to “add on” something else? Have you ever gotten the sense that a salesperson was pushing you into buying an item that cost more than you wanted to spend? If you’ve ever felt that way, it’s probably because the place you’re shopping has sales quotas for their employees. In some cases, it’s a quota on average units per sale. In others, each employee is expected to be responsible for selling a certain dollar amount every month. If you’ve ever worked in retail you know the behind the scenes “contests”, “incentives” and no-so-subtle “recommendations” employees get when it comes to meeting these goals. These practices are fairly common throughout chains and retailers.

At a boutique, there’s less pressure to standardize sales across locations that may be scattered across the country. There’s one location, one staff and owners are often on the floor with the rest of the employees. That structure makes practices like quota enforcement less common or necessary. As a customer, this means you don’t have to worry about being “impulsed” into buying something you don’t want because sales clerk benefits from increasing your total or the number of the items in your transaction.

More Diverse and Interesting Inventory

Speaking of standardization, large eyewear suppliers and chains are often buying in bulk. They are looking for sizable quantities of inventory that can be distributed among multiple locations and/or be used to accommodate numerous online orders for the same product. At a boutique, that’s not really an issue. We build our inventory out of smaller quantities of products. We love when there’s only a half a dozen frames of a certain style in the world. We love it even more when we can offer someone a one-of-a-kind pair of frames.

We can try out more unique frames that might not have the “mass appeal” a larger store looks for. We can experiment with styles from exclusive or up-and-coming designers. We tend to think of our frames as art more than product. It’s the difference between buying a painting from a gallery vs buying a print from a craft store.

Sure, we’ll have the classic looks and traditional materials you’d find in any other glasses store, but we’ll also have options that are unexpected and unavailable in other locations.  

We Know You, We Remember You

Before we get into this one too far, let us start by saying that over the years we’ve known plenty of great people who really care about the customers they serve working in in businesses large and small. The ability to care for a customer’s needs and best interest is not exclusive to small businesses or boutiques. It just feels more common there.

Perhaps it’s easier for us. Maybe with a smaller staff and an exclusive focus on one specialty we have more opportunity to engage with our customers and get to know them. In the eyewear business too, especially the way we do it, our customers are also our patients. Maybe only the fabulous Dr. Stephen Rosenberg conducts exams, but everyone here understands that your vision is a matter of health. Both our opticians and stylists need to understand your lifestyle, your needs, routines and to some degree, your self-image to be able to help you find the right pair of glasses. That process requires getting to know you and creating a bond that only gets stronger as you return year after year.

Personal Attention From an Expert

Again, we know there are people out there at larger glasses stores who really know their stuff and will give you their undivided attention. We also know that at a boutique like 10/10 Optics we prize knowledge and personal attention above all else. There’s a reason we work here and it’s very simple; we really love what we do.

We know that most people are getting glasses because their vision needs correction in order to achieve proper vision. But we don’t like to think of glasses for their utilitarian functionality. We look at eyewear as fashion. Glasses are an expression of your individuality and style. They are, in some ways a fashion accessory, but worn in a more prominent way than any necklace or pair of earrings. The fact that glasses are a central feature of your everyday look means that selecting a is a major event. We take our love of glasses as fashion, and our expertise in choosing the right frames for each unique face and pass that love and knowledge on to you!

So next time you’re getting new glasses and you think that ordering online seems convenient, or that it’s easier to just get glasses at the closest possible location, we’d like to suggest an alternative way of thinking. Consider your next glasses purchase, not as a matter of obligation, but as a self-indulgent event. Treat yourself to eclectic styles, a relaxed visit and the personal attention of an experienced stylist who will help you choose frames as beautiful and unique as you are.