Avi’s Opticians has launched Goa’s first e-commerce store exclusively for sunglasses. The family’s second generation entrepreneur Ashwin D’Souza discusses about the various products and services at the store, writes MEENAL BALE
Avi’s Opticians has been serving the people of Curchorem and its surrounding areas in eyecare retail for the last 16 years. The first store was set up in 1999 followed by another in 2006. “It was started by my mother in my sister Avila’s name. Over a generation, it has turned into a family business” says Ashwin D’Souza, who has acquired his Bachelor’s degree in Optometry from the Lotus College of Optometry, Mumbai.
Ashwin also bears registered memberships with the Optometry Council of India as well as the American Optometric Association and is currently the full time optometrist at Avi’s Opticians’ main outlet which now also has a dynamic online portal. “The online store has received a fairly good response. We have kept it restricted to sunglasses because for spectacles, it is best that the purchase is made in person as measurements and testing is essential,” says Ashwin. At Avi’s Opticians, you will find an assortment of glasses as well as frames. International brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, Lacoste, Oakley, Steppers, Vogue for frames and when it comes to sunglasses, RayBan, Fastrack, Opium, Park Avenue, Provogue and others.
The store is equipped with a computerized machine in which once the customer’s data is fed, it automatically cuts and fits the glass into the frame. This allows them to provide with an option of quick delivery within 24-48hrs
Since February 2015, Avi’s has launched an in-house brand ‘Benjamin Maryani’. “It has been named after my grandparents. We wanted to introduce a brand that would be affordable, in the range of Rs 1,090/- to Rs 3,390/- and yet have an elegant finish to it,” claims Ashwin. For customers with complaints that their glasses get foggy once they step out of an air conditioned room, or even while they drive, there are special ‘Anti Fog’ lenses available. They also provide ‘Transition’ lenses that render 100% UV protection; those that are dark when outdoors and transparent indoors. “We cater to all, from young to old, men and women and by default as a best practice, we provide anti-reflective lenses that assure more clarity,” adds Ashwin.
After a comprehensive eye testing in the eye examination room that Ashwin himself handles, they advice on suitable primary eye care and optical aids to treat eye alignments. Apart from that, Avi’s also plans to open a sales counter for sunglasses at ‘The Tiger’s Coop’ at Smt. Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts and Science, Margao. Avi’s Opticians is the first to introduce the concept of ‘personalized glasses’ exclusive to an individual’s needs, with a unique ‘eye code’. “Frames today have become a style statement. However, our USP is that we dispense, we do not sell. We keep in mind how a frame sits on a person’s face, track his pupillary distance (Distance between the eyes), eye-head movements while reading, estimate the distance from his sight and give priority to the dominant eye, as well as eye rotation center. All the finer aspects are taken into consideration, along with the main spectacle prescription; that makes it an exclusively customized combination, a complete one stop solution that gives better quality of vision and is recommended for people with high power,” elaborates Ashwin.
Our USP is that we dispense, we do not sell. All the finer aspects are taken into consideration, along with the main prescription; that makes it an exclusively customized combination, a complete one stop solution that gives better quality of vision and is recommended for people with high power – Ashwin D’Souza
Avi’s opticians deals with conventional glasses from Rs 400 to personalized glasses upto Rs 1 lakh that are thinner and provide a wider field of view, balance in motion and improves reflex vision, besides being photochromatics. The company also stores glasses specially designed for the working professionals who spend a lot of time using computers and may be unaware of the Computer Vision Syndrome. The glasses help in reducing eye fatigue, while retaining the same clarity. “For such conditions we strongly advice the 20:20:20 rule where for every 20 minutes, one should focus the eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds and blink more frequently. This helps replenish the tear film and reduces the strain leading to dry eyes and other symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome,” explains Ashwin.
At Avi’s Opticians, they have a policy to make a recommendation only after they have made a comprehensive study of the client’s background, considering their occupation and daily lifestyle needs. That is the prime reason why customers engage in repeat business. “We have received a lot of positive feedback post our recommendations and we have also personally witnessed a high improvement and success rate in those using it,” he further elaborates. Avi’s Opticians also houses an exclusive collection for kids in Disney and Nickelodeon frames and sunglasses. “Children spend a lot of time outdoors and are more exposed to UV rays. These fancy looking frames are made with glasses that are highly impact resistant and are practically shatter proof, that prevents injuries due to breakage, making them safe to use for children,” Ashwin adds. For customers above the age of 40, they have something known as ‘Office Progressives,’ that provide relief to the eyes while reading as well as while working out of a dimly lit cubicle. At Avi’s Opticians, every employee is thoroughly trained in all aspects so that a comfortable rapport can be built with the customers and they are made aware of all the possible options that they can purchase from.
The store is equipped with a computerized machine in which once the customer’s data is fed, it automatically cuts and fits the glass into the frame. This allows them to provide with an option of quick delivery within 24-48 hours. They also have frame selection software that helps customers with high prescription power to make a comfortable choice. The products come with a one year warranty. Besides, they also have a glazing lab workshop to furnish orders and undertake any repairs if needed. Extremely polite while conversing, Ashwin ensures that he makes his customers understand technical terms in the simplest possible ways. “Although it is a small town, the business has flourished. Back in the late 90s, there were hardly any brands in the market. But over a period of time, the advancement in technology has led to more variety as well as competition. Earlier, people were not much aware about the different types of frames available, the materials used and their benefits. Today, people are more educated. They ask questions, make inquiries and want to learn more about the various brands. They weigh the plus points before making a purchase” explains Ashwin. Although he claims that the word of mouth technique has always worked best, he is also of the opinion that in today’s times, advertising on social media can prove to be equally beneficial. Recently, under the brand of Avi’s Opticians, they have also conducted eye camps at the Govt. College of Arts, Science & Commerce in Quepem, with an NGO in Sanguem, and at multiple places in Curchorem. Future plans include expanding the premises with better infrastructure and opening more stores across the state, while living up to the quality standards of customer service