At Eyetique: Growth in Sales and Stores

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According to: Norman Childs, founder and CEO


 
Norman Childs, founder and CEO.
“Last year, we were really fortunate to have a very good year. With everything happening in the economy we still came up. We’re doing a lot of different promotions for sunwear and we’re on track and really growing there—maybe growing 6 percent or 7 percent in a good year. In 2009, we were up 8 percent. Because of market share, we’re opening more stores and getting stronger in our brand and that’s attributed to a lot of our success.”

“Because our business is primarily higher-end, the more upscale product performs best. Norman Childs eyewear is our most sold [product]. Almost one third of everyone who comes into an Eyetique buys one of our own frames. We also do very well with Oliver Peoples, Barton Perreira, Cartier, Theo, Face à Face, ProDesign, sunglasses from Chanel and Ray-Ban, and Vera Wang at the lower price point. I think the brands are so classic and very simple that they reflect very well moving into fall. We’re really about not trying to recreate anything. I’m just looking for great materials and great design that is timeless.”

 
According to Norman Childs, his eponymous private label is Eyetique’s
best seller.
“The high price point has done best. In the past couple of years, our lenses have gone to 75 percent digitally surfaced. The quality is also better. The traditionally surfaced lenses are really losing their way with us because they’ve been around for decades and now we’re into the next phase of lens technology. For polarized lenses, we’re getting into different color polarization now, not just grey or brown. And we’re also doing better with the anti-reflective coating. It’s now very rare when a customer does not get non-glare coatings.”

“We built our business to be a premium store. People know to come to our stores for that reason. But people are price conscious so you really have to emphasize what you’re about—quality and design. It’s always better to explain why something is a certain price than apologize for the quality. We’ve been in business 32 years and that’s what we’ve done the whole time. Not deviating from what we are in the changing markets has worked for me.”

 
The Eyetique location at the Mall at Robinson is just one of eight in Pittsburgh. Two more are on the way by year end. 
“Eyetique will be opening two more stores in the next six months. But I’m not just looking for more dollars; I’m looking for growth in same-store sales. By adding more stores, we are building more awareness in our region for our brand and taking more market share by marketing ourselves. We do a lot of advertising and marketing and that has really helped and we’re absolutely looking to grow. Having an exceptional sales staff that is very well trained and a great management team led by Brad Childs is also helping.”

“But people are price conscious so you really have to emphasize what you’re about—quality and design. It’s always better to explain why something is a certain price than apologize for the quality.”


dpaunescu@jobson.com