Ever since I’ve known Rob I’ve been surrounded by eyewear, whether it’s been new collections arriving at home or looking in optical stores whilst on holiday.
After taking a break to look after our growing family, Rob found me a ‘little job’ for an independent optician in Market Harborough (one of his customers) to give me something to do! I started dressing the window once a month on a Sunday morning and things just grew from there.
I progressed to administration work in the office and covering reception, loving every aspect of the role. Working with a locally respected and experienced optometrist and receptionist, I gained valuable experience in all areas of an established optical practice.
It became clear that between us, Rob and I could create something very special and I enrolled to study and qualify as a dispensing optician, which I successfully completed. During my studies, I also realised that experience would be the key to a successful career within the optical industry, so I worked for several different independent stores, all offering high-quality customer care.
After qualifying, I moved to one of the largest independent and very highly regarded stores in the country. The customer care they offered was exceptional and I have built a wealth of knowledge working within this environment. Their loyal patient base has been built over the years on the ethos of hard work, professionalism, very detailed customer care, and knowledge, all of which I believe I understand and emulate in my store today.
For all of my working life, I have been completely immersed in eyewear. My first job was learning how to make, mend and glaze frames before I moved on to selling them. Along the way, I have visited a wide spectrum of companies, from the huge designer production lines of Italy to the technical workshops of Japan. My influence has come from the creative producers in France, the cool design projects of Scandinavia, and the small family jewellers come optical makers in Germany.
Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting and working with the creative genius that is Alain Mikli and his collaborator Phillipe Stark, as well as the retail trailblazer and rebellious icon, Larry Sands and Larry Leight, the creator of Oliver Peoples, which became the eyewear benchmark for understated cool.
My job involves a lot of travelling, which I love. It’s given me the opportunity to visit America, Australia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, visiting frame companies and trade shows to see and source new things, and also drop into the best optical stores around the globe.
Many of our customers will know me from years of sight testing and visits to the practice in Manor Walk. I first became interested in optics when my brother opened a new practice in our hometown of Rugby in Warwickshire. I helped out in the reception and loved repairing the old NHS frames which were still available in the 1970s and ’80s.
Working in my brother’s practice inspired me to pursue a career in optometry. I went on to qualify as an optometrist in 1983-4, after studying at Aston University in Birmingham and Brighton. I started working in Market Harborough in 1984 and I must say I have enjoyed nearly every minute.
I’ve been working in the optometry profession for a good number of years and I am really excited about the newer developments in ophthalmic instrumentation. Most notably the possibilities and benefits of Optical Coherence Tomography technology and our new OCT machine. With new developments and new technology, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry.
Some of our clients will know that I am also interested in many and varied hobbies. In my spare time, I enjoy wood-turning and carving, hill walking, gardening, and nature conservation.
I’ve always been interested in optics, though if we go back to 2008, they were the wall-mounted ones filled with spirits, as I was running pubs back then.
You need to enjoy talking to people when you work in the hospitality industry. Coming from this background has gifted me the ability to chat to people about many different subjects with an equal amount of energy and enthusiasm. And I bring that same energy and enthusiasm to my job as a dispenser. I love meeting new people, and I always aim to make choosing spectacles a pleasurable experience for clients.
I have to wear glasses for a high astigmatism, and as such, I have always had an interest in the designs which were not so readily available. I started my career in the optical world when I was 20 years old. I have spent over a decade working for both a high street optician and then moving to an independent optician for several years.
I’ve known Alison for a few years; we worked together at the aforementioned independent opticians. Since we last worked together, I have obtained a degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing through Canterbury Christ Church University. But I had chosen to take some time out from the optical industry shortly before the pandemic when the world entered into lockdowns.
However, when I saw that Alison was looking for someone to join the close-knit team in Market Harborough, I decided to rejoin the optical world. Since joining Respectacle, I have been happy getting to know the unique and high-quality frames we stock, meeting customers and helping them to choose new spectacles.
In the words of Jessie Mueller in the hit show Waitress, “A dream is a soft place to land”. It resonates with me as since landing at Respectacle, I can say that the position, and the company I get to work with, has been a dream, and I very much look forward to it continuing.
I started my optics journey back in 1989, working as a trainee in one of the large optician chains. After gradually rising through the ranks, I became an Assistant Manager. But I realised that I missed the interaction with clients, so I switched to a role as a Senior Optical Assistant.
I love working in the optical industry. It’s fascinating to see how fashions change and styles make a comeback. To see eyewear styles that were once popular in the 1980s and the early days of my career enjoying a revival is incredible.
Working at Respectacle as a receptionist means I get to meet a wide variety of people. I enjoy choosing frames with clients and seeing them end up with a style which is the correct choice for their requirements.
When the pandemic hit, I decided it was time to focus more on family life. So, I ended my commute to the city centre and working in a busy environment. Fortunately, a role became available at Respectacle, and I jumped at the chance to join the team.
I am an avid reader in my spare time and always have my kindle with me. I’ll read anything and everything, from crime thrillers to historical romances. I also enjoy walking, particularly in Derbyshire or the Lake District. Whilst in lockdown, I taught myself to crochet and have found it relaxing and a great stress buster. Gardening has also become an activity that I enjoy. I plant while my husband waters!
My career move to Respectacle has been a lovely transition, and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life with my new work family.