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Opti 2014: Big on Branding

It was the big brands from Germany that held centre stage at Opti 2014 in January – and none more so than Rodenstock, which chose its home market to launch the new Claudia Schiffer eyewear collection. Award winning optometrist Helen Summers visited Opti for the first time and spoke with mivision about the latest collections on show, saying she’d come home with plenty of ideas for her practice.

“The optometry scene in Germany is very different from ours,” said Ms. Summers as she recounted her time in Germany. “In terms of style, it’s more conservative and the retailers don’t seem to suffer the same level of corporate pricing competition – the two for one deals and so on – that we do.

“Optometrists are more focused on dispensing rather than refraction and eye health, and so their practices are more retail oriented – from the street front right through the practice, it is all about presenting the brands of the eyewear they sell.

“This was something that was really being emphasised at Opti. When Rodenstock launched its very sophisticated Mercedes Benz eyewear collection, guests were collected for the event from their hotels in the latest Mercedes Benz S-Series vehicles, complete with seats that both warmed and massaged as we drove. Everything about the collection – from the launch, presenters, point of sale and the product itself reflected Mercedes Benz brand values of ‘modern design’ and ‘sensual purity’. Porsche represents sophistication and sleek technology. Rocco is younger, colourful and funky, and was launched with a flash dance. In the middle of the Rodenstock stand, a singer leapt onto a bar table and started to sing ‘we will, we will…Rocco’. Gradually younger, hip people in the crowd stood up and joined in – all staged of course, and lots of fun,” she said.

Claudia’s opinion is that eyewear should be an accessory so we all need more than one frame

“Claudia Schiffer was there to launch her eyerwear that she designed and developed in conjunction with Rodenstock. She was beautiful, elegant and very interested to discuss eyewear and lenses with Colette Kinsella (from Rodenstock) and I. Claudia decided to design her own optical collection because she couldn’t find a frame she liked and then she went on to extend the range into sunglasses. Claudia’s opinion is that eyewear should be an accessory so we all need more than one frame. The style she has come up with is over-sized, colourful and extremely good quality – it fits what has become the Claudia Schiffer brand beautifully.”

The First Showcase of the Year

Opti 2014 attracted over 24,000 visitors from more than 80 countries to view frames, lenses, low vision products, concepts for shop fit-outs and technology presented by 500 exhibitors from 34 countries. It is the first optical show of the year so is well regarded in Europe as an important show to attend.

“Opti was much bigger than I’d expected and absolutely vibrant with people,” said Ms. Summers. “The frames on display were fashion focused but more conservative than you’d see in France and Italy. All of the large suppliers were there – the European and American frame brands, as well as the established lens manufacturers; Rodenstock; Essilor and Hoya showcasing their lens technologies.

“Rodenstock has a remarkable presence in Europe and was the most outstanding exhibitor at Opti, showcasing their extensive range of lens technologies, eyewear and also instruments,” she said.

Lots to Learn

Ms. Summers said having experienced the German optometry scene and “soaked up” the energy of Opti, she realises Australian optical practices have plenty of potential to expand their horizons.

“Being at Opti emphasised that as optometrists we still have a lot to learn. One key learning opportunity is using point of sale to present brands. Additionally we need to work with customers to determine which style they align with – in terms of themselves and their lifestyle. Staff training of course is paramount – staff need to understand the lens ranges available and be able to maximise dispensing tools so they can take advantage of the latest technology.”

In 2015 Opti will run from Friday 9 January to Sunday 11 January. For information visit www.opti.de


Helen Summers was a guest of Rodenstock at Opti 2014. Rodenstock paid Ms. Summers’ travel and accommodation expenses during her time at the fair.