Ed Beiner Redefines the ‘Trunk Show’

Ed Beiner
NEW YORK—Customization, individualization, personalization— it goes by many names but one thing is for certain; offering customers the ability to make their eyewear their own is a bona fide trend.

The Edward Beiner Group has created its own special riff on the concept and introduced the Ottica Su Misura trunk to their 11 South Florida locations. Ottica Su Misura in Italian literally translates to “optical measure” but for Ed Beiner it means a unique bespoke eyewear experience where the retailer is offering their clients the ability to create individualized eyewear handmade by skilled artisans in Italy using traditional manufacturing techniques.

“My business partner, Guido Balocco, former owner of Persol, and I have often discussed how with all the advances in manufacturing technology it is still so difficult to produce just one frame,” said Beiner. “Then Guido found this laboratory of young, motivated artisans who were up to the task. We realized that this was a service we wanted to offer our clientele.”

What has resulted is a mobile display trunk that allows the Ed Beiner Group to offer a kind of customization rarely seen in an optical boutique. “The trunk is more than just a carrying case to move the contents from one location to another,” added Beiner. “It is a display unit that embodies the spirit of the entire concept which is old world technology. Manufactured in Italy and designed specifically for our program, the trunk is filled with tools, materials, samples and over 100 acetate color samples in both solid and laminate combinations.

“Each guest that embarks on this unique experience will design their own eyewear by selecting their own shape, size, finish and laminates. Everyone will also be able to personalize each temple with a monogram, name, message or combination of all three,” he said.

The frames are then manufactured in a small laboratory in Northern Italy. Each frame takes anywhere from four to six weeks, is presented in an Italian crafted leather case from Florence and costs $800, the company said.

Of course, the stores also handle the prescription side of the order. “Our eyewear specialists handle the prescription piece just like any other consultation,” Beiner said. “The lenses are manufactured through an outside partner and then cut and edged at one of our internal finishing labs. Even though we offer a wide variety of digitally surfaced single vision and free form lenses, we hope that each guest chooses to personalize their eyewear even further with one of our Signature High Definition designs.”

The great part of the trunk is that it really does all of the work. “Usually, before one of our staff members can bring it up, the guest is already checking out the trunk. We are also seeing that the trunk is acting as an educational tool for our staff to better explain the eyewear manufacturing process as a whole, not just for the custom frames.”

“Our current goal is two months in each location. Our staff has been reaching out to customers they feel would enjoy the experience and setting up appointments. At the end of next month, when our trunk moves to our flagship store, we will have a ‘trunk show’ no pun intended,” explained Beiner. “Every time the trunk is moved to another location the staff undergoes a weeklong training period; starting with an initial introduction of the program, followed by hands on training. In addition, we have been flying in one of the artisans who has guided our staff and helped them get comfortable with
the process.”

The concept has been so successful; there are even bigger things to come. “From the beginning, we believed we had the clientele for this service while understanding it would not be for everyone. Since the program launched in January, we have already surpassed our Q1 and Q2 goals. As we continue to evolve and adapt the program, our goal is to create a brick-and-mortar concept whose foundation is based on a concierge service embodying the Ottica Su Misura values of craftsmanship, individuality and exclusivity,” concluded Beiner. ■


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