New Partnership between IRIS and Nikon

Nikon_IrisIRIS The Visual Group partners with Nikon, introducing MyLabTM, the Nikon/IRIS integrated laboratory. This is a first in NIKON Optical Canada’s history. Following its 2013 spring launch, IRIS locations are now fully integrated and are seamlessly processing increasing demands and delivering on patients’ needs. MyLab offers exclusive designs to IRIS patients, namely, their latest digital progressive lens series, I View Series2.

“IRIS and Nikon share a similar vision — to improve Canadians’ vision. Partnering up with Nikon was not only something we aspired to, but a sensible next step. Our partnership will demonstrate that vertical cooperation is more efficient than vertical integration,” said Dr. Francis Jean, optometrist and president of IRIS.

MyLab is equipped with advanced industrial software and the latest edging and mounting technologies, enabling it to produce new generation lenses that store superior  intelligence. The most specific of patients’ needs relevant to their IRIS profile are met. This allows IRIS to provide patients with personalized and exclusive products in real-time.

“Nikon Optical Canada is proud to have partnered with Iris to create MyLab, a dedicated structure providing IRIS patients with Nikon’s latest technology lenses. We strongly believe that the association of our respective expertise in professional patient care and premium quality products will contribute to elevate the optical market and provide Canadians with better vision for a better life,” added Pierre Longerna, president of Nikon Optical Canada.

IRIS has increased its Nikon lens volume from 15 to 50 per cent in recent years, in part due to patients requesting the sophisticated lenses, and essentially because Nikon delivers innovation that resonates with IRIS’s comprehensive patient service.

Ocuco Acquires See20/20

OcucoOcuco, a U.K.-based leading practice management system vendor, has acquired See20/20, the supplier of the world’s first entirely cloud-based practice management system.

The acquisition effectively secures the future of the See20/20 product for current customers. It will also enable Ocuco to build on its current UK market presence in cloud-based practice management solutions.

The See 20/20 product will continue to be supported and all staff will join the Ocuco team.

“We recognise that the Software as a Service or Cloud deployment business model offers a low upfront cost service option which is particularly appealing for smaller independent opticians. The acquisition of See20/20 will extend our already existing capability to offer cloud-based (SaaS) practice management solutions to opticians. We plan to improve See20/20 by integrating it with our OptiCommerce, adding an online sales and appointment booking channel to customers’ practices. We are also looking forward to benefitting from See20/20’s excellent pool of experienced talent in the development of cloud-based practice management solutions,” says Leo MacCanna, Ocuco CEO.

Leadership Changes at Transitions Optical

PrintTransitions Optical announced a number of key executive changes following a PPG Industries statement that after nearly 40 years of service, including almost 24 with Transitions Optical, Richard C. Elias, senior vice president, optical and specialty materials, and chief executive officer, Transitions Optical, would be retiring, effective April 1, 2014.

The announcement also came on the heels of Essilor International’s report that it had finalized the acquisition of PPG Industries’ 51 per cent ownership stake in Transitions Optical.

Dave Cole, Transitions Optical president, has accepted the promotion to vice president for PPG’s packaging coatings business following nearly 24 years with Transitions Optical. Cole joined PPG in 1981 and held a variety of sales and marketing roles in the chemicals organization prior to joining the Transitions Optical organization. He participated in the start-up of Transitions Optical in 1990 as manager, sales and business development and later progressed through several positions of increasing responsibility before being named its chief operating officer in 2010. He was appointed president, Transitions Optical in 2011.

Paddy McDermott has been appointed president, Transitions Optical, effective immediately. He will report directly to Bertrand Roy, senior vice president, strategic partnerships, Essilor. McDermott originally joined Transitions Optical in 1993 and has previously held several key positions in the company’s EMEA region and globally. He was responsible for the start up of Transitions Optical’s Ireland facility and subsequently worked as director of operations and customer service for Europe, global supply chain director, and information technology leader globally. Subsequent positions included director, lenscaster sales, EMEA; director, operational excellence and global engineering; and his most recent role as global director, strategic initiatives.

Bertrand Roy, senior vice president, strategic partnerships, Essilor, will lead the Transitions Optical business for the Essilor Group. Roy has been with Essilor International for nearly 27 years and was instrumental in the foundation of the Transitions Optical joint venture. He has served Transitions Optical in many capacities including executive director and board member.

Congratulating Elias on his retirement and Cole on his promotion, Roy shared his appreciation saying, “For me, it has been both a professional and personal honour to work with Rick and Dave for nearly two decades. They are gentlemen of the highest caliber of integrity and professionalism. Their leadership has been integral to creating Transitions Optical’s unique culture and driving its continued strong performance since its inception. Their dedication has positioned Transitions Optical for continued success well into the future.”

Zyloware’s Bob and Henry Shyer Honoured

Sophia-LorenOn March 27, Zyloware Eyewear Chairman Bob Shyer and Vice Chairman Henry Shyer were honoured as the 2014 recipients of the Persons of Vision Award by Prevent Blindness. The Persons of Vision award recognizes individuals or corporations involved in the field of vision, eye health and/or eye care.

The awards were presented to Bob and Henry by their sons, Chris and Jamie Shyer, the current leaders of Zyloware Eyewear. The business is the oldest family-operated optical company in the United States and now in its third generation of family management. Joseph Shyer founded Zyloware in 1923, at the advent of manufacturing eyewear with zyl. During the 1960’s, Bob and Henry brought the first-ever commercially viable, nearly indestructible, nylon optical frame to the market. Called the Invincible, it went on to sell over 30 million pairs.

The Shyer brothers have had a storied partnership, both of them noted for giving back to the industry through their Optical Manufacturers Association (OMA) leadership. Founded by their father, the OMA was the predecessor trade association to the Vision Council, which was their initiative. However, among their many accomplishments is most notably the moment in 1979 when they joined with Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren in creating the first celebrity eyewear brand. This launch was instrumental in changing the world’s perception of eyewear from simply a medical necessity to a fashion accessory.

Fashion’s Perfect Fit: FYSH UK and Jeanne Beker!

By Paddy Kamen

Kismet marches to the beat of its own drummer. But sometimes enchantment happens when hunches are followed and bold moves create a synergy akin to magic.

Beverly Suliteanu, WestGroupe’s vice-president of marketing and product development, envisioned a special collection within one of WestGroupe’s brands, with proceeds going back to the community. She followed her hunch and quickly realized that Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker would be an ideal partner. “Given FYSH UK’s ties to fashion, the not-for-profit organization Dress For Success was a natural fit and, with Jeanne Beker as one of its ambassadors, everything fell into place.  We approached Jeanne and Dress for Success this past spring to discuss a possible partnership. All parties instantly loved the idea!”

Beker is, indeed, an inspired choice, with career accomplishments as significant as they are varied. The Toronto native began as an actress, studied acting both in New York and Paris, and obtained a fine arts degree from York University. After moving into arts and entertainment reporting, Beker was chosen to host Fashion Television (FT), which has become Citytv’s most widely syndicated show with viewers in over 130 countries. Beker is now the host and producer at Fashion Television Channel, Canada’s only channel dedicated to fashion, beauty and design.

“The partnership makes perfect sense, not only because FYSH UK draws inspiration from the fashion runways, but also because its brand philosophy emphasizes the celebration of individuality and uniqueness, a message that Jeanne strongly supports,” says Suliteanu.

Suliteanu and Beker worked together to select the styles from FYSH UK’s new releases that became the Jeanne Beker collection. “Jeanne’s capsule collection features a selection of design-driven styles with an eye-catching palette,” notes Suliteanu. “There is an assortment of flattering eye shapes within the collection and each model is available in four colour options. The collection has a fashion-forward attitude, without going too wild.”

The one design that captured Beker’s attention right from the start is a retro-inspired acetate frame in a black and white zebra print with scalloped edges. This has become Jeanne Beker’s signature frame. “This model comes in solid front colours combined with the patterned temples to make it a fun and easy style to wear with any outfit. But for the ultimate fashionista, the black and white full print (front as well as the temples) will elicit the biggest reaction,” explains Suliteanu.

WestGroupe marketing campaign features a full suite of collateral and in-store point-of-sale materials, including a banner, counter card and display insert to highlight the new collection and encourage sell-through. Suliteanu says the January 2013 launch will also be supported with trade and consumer advertising, a mailer to be distributed to retailers promoting the collection, as well as an email campaign highlighting the signature collection. A special section will be devoted to the collection on the FYSH UK website (, including a promotional video featuring highlights from the campaign photo shoot. A comprehensive public relations and social media program includes real-time fan engagement via WestGroupe’s online platforms, national media outreach and a media launch event that took place in Toronto last November with Beker in attendance, along with Envision: seeing beyond magazine publisher, Martine Breton. With coverage on CTV’s etalk and tweets from Flare magazine, the media ‘buzz’ has begun; bloggers and fashion enthusiasts alike are sharing their excitement about this stylish new collection both on and offline.

A portion of the sales from this capsule collection will be donated to a charity close to Jeanne Beker’s heart – Dress for Success, which is dedicated to empowering women and inspiring them to put their best foot forward in attitude and dress.

Ray-Ban On the Faces of History

By Paddy Kamen

The word ‘iconic’ is tossed around very carelessly these days. But no brand of sunglass can lay claim to iconic status like Ray-Ban, creator of the indispensible Aviator sunglass. Now a fabulous 75 years old, Ray-Ban is celebrating its milestone birthday by releasing two limited edition anniversary styles, along with a very special limited edition book.

This handsome volume features photos of musicians, actors, artists and heroes from every decade since the 1930s. Ray-Ban Legends: Untold Stories complements those photos with illuminating essays by high-profile influencers, editors, writers, musicians and filmmakers. Iggy Pop, for example, writes about a 1979 photograph of Keith Richards and Ron Wood:

« And you notice, Keith is the one who gets to wear the Ray-Ban sunglasses! In a way, those shades are like the Learjet: an absolutely beautiful piece of equipment. So lightweight, so well-designed. I’ve worn mine in the jungle and I’ve worn them in the desert. Any other “designer” glasses quickly fall apart – the arm comes off them, or whatever. When I turned “pro” in 1966 and joined my first band – I was 18, 19 years old – inMichigan, a group called The Prime Movers, I was required to wear a pair of Ray-Ban shades to look the part. I was in the band on one condition: I got a pair of those glasses for myself. »

Lisa Burnback writes of President John F. Kennedy: “The point is that he was one of the youngest men, and arguably the most attractive, to occupy the Oval Office, and he wore Ray-Ban Wayfarers. He was frequently photographed wearing them, and hence these sunglasses have become part of the apotheosis of JFK, part of the packaging of what became closest to American royalty.”

Undoubtedly, all culture-watchers will find this a compelling collection. But just try getting your hands on one! As part of the Ray-Ban 75th anniversary campaign, the books will be distributed to VIP clients. Good luck!

Obtaining a pair of one of only 7,500 sets of the Ray-Ban Aviator Folding Ultra special edition sunglass may be just as challenging. Luxury knows no bounds with these frames, dipped in 22 carats of white or yellow gold. This is the first folding model in the Ray-Ban Aviator family, with a unique structure that folds at the temple earpieces, along the temples and at the bridge. The temple earpieces and case are bound in genuine leather to commemorate the exclusivity of this release.

Another anniversary special release is the Ray-Ban Ambermatic 2012 Limited Edition, a collection of four Aviator-style sunglasses reinterpreted with a famous lens colour from the brand archives. Ambermatic is a special yellow photochromic lens that is responsive to temperature conditions. It transforms from yellow to brown, blocking glare while highlighting shapes, even in the snow. The Ambermatic lens comes in four shapes: Ray-Ban Classic Aviator, Ray-Ban Classic Aviator with curved temple tips, Ray-Ban Shooter and Ray-Ban Outdoorsman.

The Ambermatic collection has selective distribution of 16,000 worldwide.

Luxottica Group, owner of the Ray-Ban brand, has done a stellar job of celebrating Ray-Ban’s 75th anniversary. The campaign, Never Hide, was awarded two Gold Lion awards at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June 2012.

Envision: seeing beyond magazine congratulates the creative team behind this celebratory, historic campaign!