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New York / Vision East Expo Day 5

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New York / Vision East Expo Day 5

Hard to believe that this is our fifth day in NYC, this is turning into quite the marathon event.  Looking at our schedule we knew that this was going to be a busy day, we had a lot of appointments, and quite a special day – we would only be spending half of it at the actual convention centre.

Visiting the stands at the convention centre brings many great things, you inevitably see new things across all of the different sectors that make up the optometric business.  You find some amazing unexpected finds, perhaps hidden away in a smaller booth or tucked away in a corner.  You also see some tremendous showboating by some of the industry giants as they try to prove that my stand is bigger than your stand.  We could go on at some length about how awful some of these are, but that’s not why we’re here.  When we see these monstrosities, though, it does reassure us that we are absolutely correct to continue to forge great relationship with independent manufacturers, designers and suppliers.

This mornings hidden gem was something that we have been looking for since before we opened, and today we found the solution – literally!  We have been looking for an eyeglass cleaner spray that we were happy with for a long time, we wanted something as environmentally friendly as possible, which did a great job of cleaning and protecting your lenses and fitted our general office philosophies.  Now we have it:

Our very own ‘local’ eyeglass cleaner

When you now pick up your new eyewear, be sure to pick up a bottle of this spray formulated with Nova Scotia water!  The great thing is, when you have this bottle you can come back any time to get it re-filled – we want you to keep your eyeglasses looking fabulous, after all!

So, where shall we start today? With our only appointment at the show, first thing.  We love working with this supplier who creates our very own line of “by Ocean” eyeglasses for us.  These offer a great value option with frames handmade in Germany in a clean and elegant style.  We updated our selection of shapes and also added in more sunglasses – we are so confident that this winter will end!
Now, with a few hours before our rendezvous in an Airstream, we go for an explore.  This is when we found our eyeglass cleaner.  It also gave us an opportunity to look at some of the eye exam equipment.  We admit it, we are eye geeks through and through and when we are presented with a range of eye-toys it’s very difficult to resist.  So, we didn’t!  Dr Wilson picked up a new lens for examining the back of the eyes in great detail and we also choose some new tools to help us in our day to day eye examinations and when we have an eye emergency of some foreign matter stuck in the eye.  All of these additional tools add to both the range and quality of services we can provide in the eye care/eye health factor of our business.
Activist Eyewear
With the exploring over, it was time to head out, cross the rainy street and find a polished Airstream.  Inside were our friends Activist Eyewear.  Anthony & Mark gave us a very warm welcome and there’s no denying that this is a seriously cool place to come and meet with them.  It is slightly surreal inside with the polished, curved walls creating a funfair hall of mirrors type effect, but with some cool mood lighting and groovy tunes you can get away with anything!
We love how Activist have an exquisite level of attention to detail.  There are so many subtle touches throughout the whole range and within each product that let you know you really have something special.  It really was a simple decision for us to order in more of their ophthalmic frames which people have been loving in Halifax.  Once we are done with the ophthalmic collection, we move on to their sunglasses.  Wow!
These really are fabulous, combining a sense of classic style with modern functionality, you are sure to be choosing sunglasses that not only look great but perform superbly.  Make sure you follow our Twitter and Facebook posts as we’ll definitely be announcing when these arrive in our office and we suspect that they’re not going to hang around for long when they do!
We shoot the breeze for a while as Anthony & Mark really are lovely people to spend time with, but with our next appointment looming soon enough it’s time to head out into a rainy March day in New York.
After a short walk we arrived at the Loft – this time to do business, rather than to party.  Mind you, what a place to do business!
The sparkliest business venue ever!

The exhibitors at the Loft are perhaps some of the most exclusive eyewear ranges available, the cream of the crop.  The Loft was originally started by Bevel to try to provide a better setting to choose eyewear in and to get away from the burden of dealing with the main venue’s exhibition red tape.  In so many ways, they have succeeded.  The atmosphere is relaxed and laid back, there are a wonderful collection of exhibitors and you get the sense of both open-ness and intimacy at the same time.  There does not feel any pressure to choose your selection and move on, here.

We start with meeting with Bernhard Wolf, from Rolf.  Rolf are by far the best makers of natural product eyewear globally at the moment, bar none.  With frames made from wood, stone and buffalo horn their selection is exquisite.  When choosing to carry Rolf Spectacles we knew that having a good relationship with them would be important, as a family business Rolf completely get the importance of this.  We spend time with Bernhard, review their offerings and bring ourselves up to date with all of their activities.

We then spend some time with Bevel.  Bevel is a line which we have not reviewed before, however, as they are the innovators of the Loft, it would seem rude not to.  Firstly, they are thoroughly nice people … thoroughly!  Creative, global, caring and most of all … nice!  So it’s already looking good from the relationship point of view.  In saying that, we already had quite a lot of stock organised and some more appointments to go.  We have good lines chosen for the office already that have been working well for us, do we really need another range?

We get down to the task in hand and start to go through the range – beautiful, simply, beautiful.  Hand made in Japan, their quality is superb.  Oh, go on then, let’s chose some of these, they really are wonderful.

Then we go to our final appointment – SALT.  We’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time, they really are a range of eyeglasses which has become a firm favourite in our office.  After meeting with all the great people of SALT., including designer David who we’d last seen in Paris, it was time to catch up with Amy – our local agent from Ontario.  We went through the new collection, you feel very special seeing the models as they have just been launched and aren’t even in the market yet.

What’s new for this year for us?  Sunglasses from SALT. Having found their ophthalmic frames to be such a popular range and having found their quality to be exemplary, adding the sunglasses range was an easy decision.

Some of the models are available as both sunglasses and ophthalmic frames and some are just available as one or the other.  SALT. sunnies come with quality polarized lenses as standard and we are able to put prescription lenses in all of the.

Thankfully we also managed to find some wonderful models to help us choose the sunglasses that we wanted to showcase at Ocean.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t all about modelling the sunglasses, maybe it was all about just shooting the breeze with a cool California vibe while looking fabulous and feeling 100% the absolute rockstar.  They’re not just sunglasses, they’re a lifestyle choice, and you know it!

Did we order some?


We were in New York; we were there avoiding a storm that was burying Nova Scotia in snow; we were hiding from the rain lashing down outside – but we were wearing the coolest sunglasses and in our world the sun was most definitely shining.

Our sunglasses collection.

As a final note we are very thankful for the time that all of the companies give us.  We are fairly intensive about wanting to be completely knowledgeable about the products that we carry and some of our questions are challenging.  It is important to us to know the construction techniques inside out and back to front, we want to ensure that the glasses you  choose from Ocean are second to none.

For more information about these independent eyewear ranges please see:
Activist Eyewear –
Rolf Spectacles –
Bevel Spectacles –
SALT. Optics –

The rainy day finished with a lovely Italian meal in an incredibly busy restaurant right on 7th Avenue near Central Park.  Kindly invited as guests of Allergan again, it is a great chance to catch up with both optometrist colleagues, especially from different provinces, and the professionals from Allergan.

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