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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, October to December 2016

Grafton Optical are on the move.
FMO celebrates a successful year at their AGM in London.
J. B. Fashions to join Optoplast
The great WOODONE FAMILY inaugurates a new wood production facility in Varna.
Peter Reeve Steps up at Stepper.
Lab supervisor promotion at No7.
FMO appoints Andy Yorke as Chairman-elect of its Board of Directors
Innovation and Excellence in Eye Care: FMO Autumn General Members’ Meeting Update


December 2016

Essilor Sun SolutionEssilor® Sun Solution™, the Essilor Group division dedicated to sun plano lenses, has recently started a collaboration with IED – Istituto Europeo di Design in Turin. The objectives of this collaboration are to finance a study on the development by IED students of a concept frame, a communication campaign and marketing tools based on E-SUN™ KOLOR UP™, a brand and technology of sun lenses developed by the Essilor® Sun Solution™ division and which guarantees a refreshing perception of colors and improved vision.

The first phase of the project will involve students in their final year of studies at the Jewelry and Accessories Design BA (which also includes curriculum on eyewear design). During the second phase, the three best concept frames will become the subject of specific projects by BA students in Graphic Design and Advertising Communication.

E-SUN™ KOLOR UP™ lens technology was developed in cooperation with the Essilor Group R&D teams, applying the principles that have made Essilor successful throughout the last 50 years. Compared to traditional sun lenses which are designed to reduce light intensity and glare and to protect the eyes, E-SUN™ KOLOR UP™ lenses selectively modulate the light reaching the retina and the wavelengths of the primary colors received by the photoreceptors in the eyes. The result is more brightness and enhanced definition of colors, in addition to providing protection against the sun. E-SUN™ KOLOR UP™ lens technology offers a real visual experience with increased enjoyment and a more colorful vision. Better vision, modern sophisticated colors and treatments combine to offer the complete package for fashion.

Based on the experience of better and brighter vision, Essilor® Sun Solution™ has asked the IED students to translate the E-SUN™ KOLOR UP™ lens concept into a frame, a communication campaign and POP materials. "No ordinary sunwear reflects the new position of our brand. With this new collaboration with the IED on E-SUN™ KOLOR UP™, Essilor® Sun Solution™ division wants to explore new possibilities and show how a strong concept on sun lenses can be the source of inspiration for sunglasses" said Christophe Mayet, VP Marketing of Essilor® Sun Solution™ Division.

The results of the project will be unveiled in September 2017.

The Istituto Europeo di Design, in Turin, since opening its doors in 1966, has forged its reputation in the fields of education and research in the disciplines of design, fashion, visual communication and management.

Today, IED is an international institution which maintains its truly Italian roots. A crossroads for culture and learning, with campuses in Milan, Rome, Turin, Venice, Florence, Cagliari, Como, Madrid, Barcelona, San Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

IED offers three-year degree and diploma courses, Semester and Academic year courses, Summer and Specialization courses and Master courses. In continuity with the philosophy of the network, IED Torino applies an educational methodology founded on theoretical coursework continuously combined with workshops and hands-on experience.

In this way, it ensures an ongoing connection between knowledge and know-how, thereby guaranteeing that a very high percentage of students will find employment after graduation. IED Turin is recognized by some authorities as one of the world’s most important centers for training in transportation design. Aligned with the knowledge and research typical of its context, this campus develops and focuses its design work on concepts of future mobility and the most advanced and innovative manufacturing clusters.

Grafton Optical are on the move.

December 2016

Grafton movingGrafton Optical will be moving to pastures new at the beginning of January.

Brian Bowles, Managing Director said “The existing building is set to be turned into flats so we have found ourselves a new home which we hope to move into very shortly. Having been located in Watford since 1982, and having occupied various properties around the area, we are now moving to Berkhamsted which is a short commute away”.

With excellent public transport facilities close by, the new building is only a short walk from Berkhamsted railway station and the A41 dual carriageway allows a fast direct route to drive to the new premises with plenty of free parking outside the new canal based location.

Currently in a transitional stage Grafton are very much full steam ahead to complete the move without any disruption to their customers and will be fully operational in their new premises at the start of the New Year on Tuesday January 3rd 2017.

The new address is:
Grafton Optical, Unit 7 River Park Industrial Estate, Billet Lane, Berkhamsted, HP4 1HL.

Grafton Clarance


Grafton are having a CLEARANCE SALE before the big move, so that they don’t have to take the extra stock with so click HERE to see the full list and find yourself a bargain today! We also have our pre-owned list where you will my find what your practice is missing, whether it be a slit lamp or combi unit. Click HERE.

Our smaller items can be picked up and taken with you from our Watford premises so if you are nearby and wish to drive to us please confirm we still have the stock left!


We will be announcing our NEW showroom opening shortly and you will be invited to come and see our full range that consists of your practice room essentials as well as innovative

Grafton help us provide your free Opchat news by sponsorship. Read more about Grafton on the PHN pages here. And check out their new equipment, the best treatment for your dry eye patients that lasts up to three years. E-Eye1.

FMO celebrates a successful year at their AGM in London.

December 2016

FMO held its AGM on Friday December 2 at the Amba Charing Cross Hotel in London.

Outgoing Chairman Mark Truss summarised a successful year, focused on maximising resources under the operational leadership of CEO Bryony Pawinska. Mr Truss paid special tribute to Board Director Barry Dibble for his role in overseeing the transfer of Optrafair exhibition management to the Mark Allen Group and thanked all Directors for their commitment and hard work during the year.

After the AGM, representatives from across the optical sector joined FMO members to celebrate with a reception and luncheon in the hotel Ballroom.

Following lunch Mark Truss emphasised the need for the sector to work together and the important role of the Optical Confederation, of which FMO is a founder member. FMO, said Mr Truss, plays a key role in a diverse sector by representing members who are the very foundation of the industry.

Mr Truss made a number of presentations.

Yorke and TrussFMO invests its share of Optrafair income in the sector, and the first presentation was a donation to the Optical Workers' Benevolent Fund, accepted by Frank Norville on behalf of his fellow Trustees. Mr Norville emphasised the much needed support that the Fund provides for optical workers facing hardship.

Sandie Fisher, FMO's former Office Manager, who retired earlier this year, was presented with a gift from members in recognition of her long service and Mr Truss paid tribute to Sandie's exceptional commitment to FMO.

Stuart Burn, MD of Performance Finance, stepped down as a Director and Chairman of the Equipment Focus Group, and was presented with an engraved photo frame in recognition of his service to FMO. Stuart is succeeded by his Vice Chairman, Krysten Williams, CEO of Heidelberg Engineering UK. Amanda Danson, Sales Director of Birmingham Optical becomes the new Vice Chairman of the Group, and a Director of the FMO Board.

Mr Truss then formally handed over his chain of office to Vice Chairman, Andy Yorke, MD of Topcon Medical who thanked Mr Truss for successfully steering FMO throughout the year, and expressed his firm commitment to working with all of the bodies in the optical sector.

Mr Yorke's first duty as the new Chairman was to present Mr Truss with an engraved photo frame in recognition of his service to FMO as a Director since 2011 including terms of office as Chairman of the Frames Focus Group, and as Vice Chairman and Chairman

J. B. Fashions to join Optoplast

December 2016

The start of an exciting new chapter for these famous names in British optics.

This collaboration will expand the opportunities available to both companies and marks an exciting new chapter for these famous names in UK optics.

A Significant investment is planned for “J.B. Fashions” including an expansion of the sales team both in the UK and internationally, as well as new operational facilities in Merseyside.

Brian Lever (Director, J.B. Fashions) said: “This collaboration will bring J.B. Fashions many new opportunities which will enhance our customer offering.”

Daniel Thorn (Director, Optoplast) goes on to say: “We are thrilled to be working with J.B. Fashions, a renowned and a long established name in optics.”

Optoplast (part of Yakira Group) with origins dating back to 1946 now supplies the global optical industry with optical cases & packaging, optical tools & consumables, with sister companies also supplying reading glasses, sunglasses, private label and licensed Eyewear

J.B. Fashions (part of Revel International) is one of the oldest independent Optical suppliers in the UK, consistently meeting the demands of eyecare professionals for innovation, quality, efficiency and value. The business was founded by Brian Lever and his wife Jan, in 1970. Brian is third generation of the Lever family who have been well known in the world of optics since 1918. JB first supplied eyewear to independent Opticians then added glazing and accessories in 1973.

The great WOODONE FAMILY inaugurates a new wood production facility in Varna.

November 2016

Wood frame blockThe masterpieces of Italy’s Alto Adige in one single production facility: an operation that confirms the solidity and uniqueness of the brand set up five years ago

November 2016 – The original idea of WooDone – set up in 2011 by two entrepreneurs from Alto Adige, Thomas Oberegger and Klaus Tavella, who were inspired by the breathtaking views of the Dolomites – strengthens its position in the eyewear industry and confirms the uniqueness of the brand and its products by inaugurating the new Wood Production facility near its headquarters in Varna (Bolzano). A single hub – 2,000 sq.m and an overall investment of 2 million Euros – strongly desired by the company for its wonderful Made in South Tyrol production.

The project is based on continuing research in production technologies and treatments. These values have been transferred to the concept for the headquarters by designing pleasant rooms fitted with modern equipment, where space is used for the entire production cycle of all the lines in the great WooDone family.

“Inaugurating our new Wood Production facility exactly five years after our brand was created is a source of pride and satisfaction for us. Combining and enhancing all our production processes in a single plant strengthens our company in Italy and abroad”, said WooDone CEO and founder Klaus Tavella.

The premise with views of the Dolomites is where all the WooDone collections will be produced: Wood, Nature, and Dolomites by WooDone - “handmade in South Tyrol” made from a single piece of certified wood from Alto Adige - the MyWoodi styles, and the Robin Wood bowties.

Klaus TavellaCrafted by the expert hands of South Tyrolean artisans, each item in the Wood line is made up of eight layers of particleboard glued one to another, thanks to a custom-developed technology engineered to leave the natural veins of the wood intact, forming a sheet from which the front and temples are then obtained. The Nature and Dolomites lines express the more experimental side of design conception with Bark, Roses, Viöl, Light and Dark Bling– not just eyewear but special treatments that can be applied across the board to any style in the collection. Thanks to a natural glue which makes it possible to adhere real leaves or precious stones to the frames, eyewear become a truly distinctive work of art.

MyWoodi, the line presented in 2015 which revolutionized the world of wood frames, introducing eyewear of excellent quality and superior design at a very reasonable price to the consumer, will also be produced in the Varna facility. MyWoodi frames are known for their clean lines and alluring, contemporary style. A streamlined production system, South Tyrolean tradition and creative innovation have brought the line to the attention of an increasingly vast consumer public, keen to own stylish eyewear with an unexpected edge in terms of shapes, colors, and materials.

Last but not least, the Robin Wood collection of wooden bowties, which is part of Wood production, available in 4 styles in Acacia, Elm, Dark Ash Wood, Grey Ash wood and Rose wood. A symbol of extreme elegance and emblematic of the roaring 20’s, the ROBIN WOOD bowtie has undergone a contemporary makeover to reflect the WooDone values

The WooDone family is growing not only in terms of collections but is also strengthening its market position while remaining true to its area of origin, skillfully blending traditional values and creative innovation

With 30 people on its payroll, 20 of whom dedicated to the production of more than 25,000 units per year, the company’s products are sold in more than 3,500 stores around the world today; sales totaled approximately 4 million Euros, 75% of which generated by exports.

Peter Reeve Steps up at Stepper.

November 2016

Peter Reeve Stepper
Since his appointment to Stepper (UK) Limited in 2003 Peter Reeve has had a pivotal role in the company’s UK success. Peter has seen the UK business grow to become one of the most successful distributors worldwide for this innovative ophthalmic brand.

Following Stepper UK and Stepper France’s acquisition by Arts Optical in 2014, Peter’s role was expanded to include wider commercial responsibilities as part of the Stepper Eyewear’s international team.

This meant helping oversee business development for distributors worldwide in addition to his Commercial Director role in his home market.

Most recently Peter has been appointed Managing Director of Stepper (UK) Limited with overall responsibilities for the company’s domestic performance.

‘The ambition, creativity and technical excellence of Stepper means there is always something exciting in the product portfolio,’ comments Peter. ‘In both the UK and our international business I see enormous potential for growth for Stepper, being an integral part of this growth process is very rewarding.’

Stepper sells to over 60 countries worldwide and continues to be a leading force in Titanium and premium plastic frame design and manufacture.

Lab supervisor promotion at No7.

November 2016

Leon Morton

No7 has promoted Leon Morton to the role of Lab Supervisor, drawing on his 17 years of experience with the contact lens company.

Leon, who knows every aspect of the contact lens manufacturing process, is looking forward to leading his team.

“Understanding the different materials, designs, cuts and processes in lenses requires a detailed knowledge. Much has changed in the past 17 years of contact lens manufacturing – as a lot used to be manual input but with high precision technology and automation we are now providing great consistency in supply." Said Leo.

“No7’s business has grown four-fold in my time with a greatly enlarged lab and we are constantly innovating with more sclerals and hand-painted lenses, plus a 20% year on year increase in lenses for Ortho-k. We have many customers around the world, thanks to a growing reputation.”

FMO appoints Andy Yorke as Chairman-elect of its Board of Directors

October 2016

Andrew Yorke

The Board of Directors of FMO is delighted to announce the appointment of Andy Yorke, Managing Director of Topcon Medical, as its new Chairman. Andy is FMO’s current Vice Chairman and will take over from current Chairman, Mark Truss, at a luncheon following the FMO Annual General Meeting on 2 December.

FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska, paid tribute to Mark Truss, who has chaired the FMO Board for the past year, steering it through a period of considerable change, and welcomed Andy Yorke. ‘Andy brings a wealth of experience of FMO and of the optical sector from over 35 years in the UK ophthalmic industry and optical profession and I am looking forward to working with him as FMO delivers its new strategic plan.’

Andy is a Past President of the BCLA, and a past Chairman of the former Ophthalmic Equipment Manufacture Suppliers Association (OEMSA),

Innovation and Excellence in Eye Care: FMO Autumn General Members’ Meeting Update

October 2016

Pawinska and TrussOn 5 October at Friends House, London, FMO embarked on the process of consultation with its members on its draft Strategic Plan, developed over the summer by the Board of Directors.

FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska explained the process of setting out a vision, mission, values and the overarching strategic aim for FMO, and members in FMO’s Focus Groups for frames, lenses and equipment discussed the draft strategic objectives for the next three years.

Equipment Focus Group Chairman, Stuart Burn, described the meeting as ‘excellent, one of the best the Group has had’ and took the opportunity to feed back to a plenary session on a range of innovative initiatives for FMO to establish over the coming months and years to both build its membership and engage meaningfully with its members’ customers in optical practices.

Mrs Pawinska explained that the consultation process with members will continue for another month and the final plan will be signed off by the Board in November and presented to the AGM in December.

The Plan is ambitious and has far reaching consequences for FMO, which is committed to bringing the words in the plan to life and helping their members’ customers to understand what the future of optics looks like.

The keynote speaker was Richard Edwards from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service. This is a service which is funded by the General Optical Council to mediate between parties when customers have a consumer complaint, many of which relate to varifocal ‘intolerance’.

It was clear that there is a great deal that FMO can do to help to raise standards in varifocal dispensing, and the Lens Group will work with OCCS on a programme of training for its members as to what dispensers must do to ensure that varifocal lenses do the job they are supposed to do.

The AGM will be held on 2 December at the Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London, followed by a Christmas Luncheon for FMO members and their guests, and the leaders of the optical bodies.


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