The Declarations of Independents


A lot goes into the transformation from business model to model business. From conceptualization to completion, retail locations in particular encounter a number of unforeseen challenges. The boldest of businesses, though, are never really complete—new challenges always arise, and with them, hopefully, new solutions.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Whitney Johnson’s Dare, Dream, Do, a book provided to me by the Optical Women’s Association upon becoming a member last year. The book, which chronicles the professional and personal journeys of Johnson and several contributors to her blog, “Dare to Dream,” (, stresses the importance of actively pursuing aspirations whilst remaining true to one’s self. Though I generally don’t gravitate toward motivational memoirs, the central message of the book—that “remarkable things happen when you dare to dream”—began to root itself in the back of my mind.

When VM embarked on our Third Annual Dispensing and Retail Excellence Awards (D.A.R.E. Awards) this year, Johnson’s definition of what it means to “dare” finally took hold. For Johnson, to dare means to find your voice and express it in a meaningful way so that personal goals may be met. For a daring dispenser or retailer, it means identifying your business’ message and being bold enough to experiment with ways of getting that message across.

As you peruse this year’s D.A.R.E. Award coverage (page 45), bear in mind that being daring “isn’t about being wacky or outrageous,” as one of our D.A.R.E. Expert Tip providers told us (page 18). It’s about pinpointing that authentic voice. Determine what it is you want to say, and let your store do the talking. Do you dare? ■