Bailey Nelson continues to expand its international presence with the opening of a new flagship store in Toronto, Canada. The Eaton Centre store is one of three Bailey Nelson stores to open in the country over the first three months of the year. The company now has 11 stores in Canada, two in the United Kingdom, seven in New Zealand and 40 in Australia. All are company owned, except for two, which are joint ventured.
Peter Winkle, co-founder and CEO of Bailey Nelson said expansion into Canada was a logical move for his company because the market is similar to Australia. Mr Winkle’s business partner, Nick Perry, has permanently re-located there to oversee the business’ development, along with one of Bailey Nelson’s clinical coaches, Phoung Truong, who is charged with ensuring eye care services rolled out reflect those delivered by its Australian practices.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring our unique model to Canada,” said Mr Winkle. “We provide a seamless experience, including professional optometry, a warm and friendly store environment, happy and engaged team members and great product at a reasonable price. Our new flagship store also brings together the best design elements we have been using in our Canadian stores with the best elements from Australia, setting the path for our approach to global store design going forward.”
Bailey Nelson has come a long way since its formative years as an online designer of Australian eyewear for young adults.
“We originally saw ourselves as a disrupter in the eyewear industry, but we are now an established global optometry company. When we started, people were impressed with the quality of our eyewear and the affordable price point but they wanted to try frames on, so we started selling from a market at Bondi Beach and then set up a small retail space in William St, Paddington.
“Following advice from optometrist Lawrie Jacobson, who loved our product, we quickly transitioned to become a full service optometry business, opening our first clinical practice with him in Chapel Street, Melbourne.
“Over the years, we have invested in great clinical equipment and now have Optos widefield retinal cameras across 12 stores with more being progressively rolled out. We have clinical coaches working with our optometrists in every state of Australia to further improve the patient experience. We’re not about simply providing an eye examination and a pair of glasses – our aim is to provide patients with a seamless experience.”
Mr Winkle and Mr Perry have both drawn on their strong business backgrounds in management consulting to create efficiencies that have proven critical to smooth growth and development.
“An efficient business model has enabled us to expand rapidly yet sensibly since we started in 2012, however our biggest focus has always been building a values-led organisation. We have built a tight knit team, and we see ourselves as down to earth individuals who enjoy a warm and friendly working environment. Our approach of continuous improvement both professionally and personally ensures our team and our company both continue to grow,” said Mr Winkle.
Bailey Nelson designs its eyewear in Australia and has it manufactured in China, with a “particular focus on quality materials, including highly polished Mazzucchelli acetates”. Practices are only established after extensive analysis of the market, and when breaking into a new area, Bailey Nelson tends to build a niche following off the main street, before moving into larger, more prominent premises.
“We are deeply involved in all aspects of the business. What we are about is creating the future of eye care and we are passionate about getting it right,” said Mr Winkle.