AN EYEWEAR stylist is looking to refocus the way people see their glasses, so not just as a necessity to aid vision but as an extension of the wearer’s personality. At last year’s Rossendale Business Awards Rebecca Thompson of Spexbox scooped the Sole Trader trophy sponsored by the Rossendale Free Press and was a finalist in the Independent Retailer category. This year’s awards, organised by Valley at Work, which connects local businesses, will open for nominations next Wednesday September 22.
Rebecca is a dispensing optician and has 12 years’ experience in the industry. She used to manage a chain of opticians and then, as a business coach, worked with practices across the country advising on management and running training courses on dispensing with style. While on maternity leave with her daughter, she started to think about setting up on her own and doing things differently. After the birth of her son, she took the plunge.
Rebecca, from Helmshore, said: “Initially, I opened Spexbox at the Salvage House in Whalley and after a year, I did a pop-up in Ruby and Daisy’s Shop on Burnley Road, Rawtenstall. People liked it so, I decided to stay.”
She has brought the European way of selecting glasses to the UK, and imports bespoke and unique frames from Italy, Germany and America, offering customers a range they will never see on the high street.
Rebecca said: “I wanted to completely separate the clinical experience of going to the optician and having loads of tests with deciding what glasses you wish to wear. When clients come to me with their prescription, I first find out all about them as a person, their likes and their personality. My experience means I can make suggestions about what glasses will suit their face and style and it is a very relaxed, fun and funny experience. It is all appointment only, there is no pressure to select a frame and it is completely separate to the eye examination. Once a frame has been chosen, I make the lenses. Nearly two out of three people wear glasses. If you are a glasses wearer then it is the first thing people see when they look at your face so it is important that they reflect who you are and that you like them; especially when you wear them every day.”
Rebecca moved into Ruby and Daisy just two weeks before the first national lockdown, so found herself at home, juggling childcare and maintaining her business through her website, so she opened a unique online styling service over Zoom. Rebecca said: “Online styling means I now have customers as far away as Scotland and London. I create a bespoke a style guide and from that the client selects frames that I send to them in a ‘try on’ box so they can shop from home and find what they want. Zoom has also been very good for my business because people have found themselves looking at their own face on their screen for a long time and many have come to me to say they hate their glasses. In the last year I have seen amazing growth in sales of 200 per cent. With the right glasses my clients say they feel more confident.”
She offers a unique chance to style your glasses to suit your bridal outfit and sells a range of frames made from recycled materials, including plastics found in the sea.
Story by Catherine Smyth Media