LAURA DRAYCOTT IS A CHIROPRACTOR -TURNED-OPTICIAN WHO HAS OPERATED HER OWN INDEPENDENT OPTICAL BOUTIQUE IN KELOWNA, B.C., SINCE APRIL 2013. WINK I WEAR HAS MORE THAN 1,000 FRAMES TO CHOOSE FROM AND DRAYCOTT SAYS PERSONALIZED SERVICE IS PARAMOUNT.
RECENTLY, OPTICAL PRISM SPOKE WITH DRAYCOTT ABOUT WHY SHE BECAME AN OPTICIAN, HER FASHIONFORWARD OPTICAL BOUTIQUE AND HER PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.

By Denis Langlois

Q/ Please give me a brief history of your business?

A/ I used to be a Chiropractor. There’s not much fashion or freedom of artistic expression
in this career choice, so after a few years and some unusual life experiences, I found myself in need of a new career.

The seeds for Wink i Wear were planted the minute I was re-introduced to the eyewear
market as a presbyope. A myope for years, laser eye surgery in the early ‘90s
eliminated my need for eyeglasses. After a second laser touch-up in my 40s, I was
overcorrected to the point of needing to wear glasses full time again…and (gasp)
multi-focals.

Disappointed at first, I started working at an independent optometric practice and
fell in love with eyeglasses to the point of wanting them like shoes. I worked under
Jim Stewart, a kind and patient mentor who trained me from scratch. Being an optician
was the perfect mix of science and fashion that I was searching for, so I enrolled in the
NAIT optical sciences program and became a licensed optician. In 2011 I moved
to Kelowna with my boyfriend Stephen (now husband) and worked at a couple of optical
places before deciding that Kelowna was lacking a non-cookie-cutter, cool eyewear
boutique. I’d been to some Vision Expos and seen the incredible eyewear made by
independent artisans and decided to try.

Q/ What kind of clientele does your store service?

A/If I had to sum up my clientele in one word it would be “authentic.” They are looking for eyewear that suits ‘them.’ They want quality eyeglasses that look distinctive
and represent who they are. I really try to create a boutique experience by listening to their needs and curate a collection of eyewear based on that. Because eyeglasses
are their most important, necessary accessory, many have more than one pair.
Some customers know exactly what they want, others need help and that’s where we come in.

Q/ What are the primary brand names your store features? What are your most
popular styles?

A/Face a Face, Jacques Durand, Moscot, Pierre Cariven, Drift, Gold & Wood, but I enjoy searching and experimenting to see what works, so we have many other lines.

Q/What kind of marketing tools do you use?

A/We’ve tried everything — radio, print, Internet, social media, etc., but what really works best for us is word-of-mouth.

Q/What are some of the benefits of operating an independent outlet?

A/ I have the unique privilege of being able to stoke and maintain my own creativity
and personal passion for what I do, every single day. I am able to travel with a purpose
and explore other countries looking for unique eyewear.

Q/Are there any changes or plans for the future for the store?

A/ I try to focus on how to optimize the current business and our brand, but I have been astounded by our growth in a relatively short period of time. This success has given
us the ability to consider expansion. We are carefully looking at different options to
bring what we hope is a unique vision to more people. There are so many moving
parts to consider with expansion and we want to proceed diligently.

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