Is it fair to say, “it’s been a tough year”?
Indulge me…..I like to keep these blog pieces upbeat and positive but, having written the opening paragraph to this post five times, it is hard to describe 2020 in a positive light.
Yet, despite the loss of so many loved ones, the social and economic devastation, the political incompetence and chicanery (there I said it), there have been some moments of beauty and hope that have shone a guiding light on our future.
You don’t need to be a numerologist to recognise that 2020 should have been an auspicious year for optics.
There is still time, right?
In January, the whole international Kirk & Kirk team got together in our new Brighton HQ and shared experiences. We planned for a rosey future and made beautiful forecasts. In February, we sat around a table and raised our eyebrows at the latest ‘media storm’, doing our best to ignore the invisible enemy and plough forward. In March we held our cashflow meetings by Zoom and gauged the future with our finger in the wind.
Would we survive? Would our clients survive? Would our suppliers survive?
The reality was predictably unpredictable. Kirk & Kirk has, thus far, proven resilient. With a few, unfortunate exceptions, our clients have made it through what we hope is the worst of this crisis. Our suppliers have been extraordinary, with our Italian acrylic producers battling to get swiftly back on their feet and our French frame-makers back in production by April.
Even more astonishing was the number of new stores that opened around the world since March.
Consumer behaviour is changing and retail needs to adapt to embrace that change.
One beautiful example of a new independent optical store is Secret Optics in Tauranga, New Zealand. Devon Palairet opened this stunning practice during lockdown, working with his family to convert a house into a welcoming retail space and selecting a few collections through which to express his personal style. Not only is the store extraordinary but, in a few short months, Secret Optics have created a very clear and concise message through their social media, integrating with their community but doing it on a world stage.
Who knows what the next six months are going to throw our way?
Secret Optics is more than simply a beautiful, new store.
It is a symbol of hope for the future for independent optics.