Chic Boutique with Personality
1st September 2012 As I stepped out of the taxi at the entrance to a flower filled street in The Hague, I realised I was in one of those wonderful locations about which people dream to open a business. Azami Optiek is a spacious, elegant shop just steps from the golden gates of Queen Beatrix’s Palace. A protected pedestrian zone, flowers line the street, and the lovely atmosphere continues when you enter Azami’s shop, with its openness and fresh approach to eyewear. It was really a pleasure to enter this tranquil eyewear oasis, and receive a friendly welcome from Bijan Azami and his capable staff.
“When the shop was designed, it had to reflect me – my personality,” says Azami, “and I wanted this reflection of me, and the way I want to do business – it wasn’t about selling. It is helping to choose – that is different. It’s like being a guide: for many people eyewear is a new field. When you connect with the person, you can feel what they want.” The boutique has a family history, about which Azami is proud and happy to relate. “Actually, before I opened the boutique, it was a Persian carpet shop for thirty years, that belonged to my father. He was going to step down, and thought it would be a good location for an optical shop. My father helped me with many of the non-optical things in the shop, so he continued to be active. It was a gift to work with him; we were companions, and had a good five years together, before he passed away.”
Azami brings the same precision to his selection of eyewear, as he did in creating the lovely interior to present the collections. “When I choose a brand, I look for quality, good design, continuity of the brand, and the service of the brand,” he says, “and these are the prerequisites, plus an identity. We have only independent designers here – Face à Face, Anne & Valentine, Dita, Reiz, Rolf, Cutler & Gross, Derome Brenner, Mykita and more. There are different reasons why opticians choose a brand, including innovation — it’s an ongoing process, including the creation our own designs as well, in buffalo horn and acetate.”
Azami clients come from all walks of life, and word-of-mouth has proven highly successful. “The customer IS the brand,” declares Azami, “and the frames in our shop have no logos, no labels. Our customers come to use for their exam- we have the best machines – quality, the products, service, expertise, advice – and that is why they come to us. We are still doing well, even in this economy.”
Azami’s passion for eyewear goes beyond fashion and frames – he believes that there needs to be more information about eye health and care to underdeveloped nations. “Do you know that one billion people could be helped? I want to bring sight to people.” He is actively working on a programme to provide basic techniques in education and health, plus organising micro credit to countries were sight problems are particularly prevalent. “The inner cannot be without the outer, and design cannot be without meaning. The eyes are the mirror of the soul, and glasses are more than an instrument to see better.” www.azami.nl JG