Joseph Haver, Tel Aviv, Israel

1st November 2013 Time Out loves this store and so do we. Joseph Haver’s boutique in Tel Aviv stands out not only because of its interesting design but also the owner’s go-ahead spirit in terms of working with glasses. I met Joseph and wife Masha Roda in Paris in September following lots of chats about our eyewear favourites via email.

“My background is quite ordinary, I’ve studied optometry in Salus University in Pennsylvania, US. Before starting my own business 2 years ago I worked for 15 years for several established optical firms, which gave me a wide range of experience concerning medical conditions, consumer taste and sales. Then I noticed I started to develop a clientele –people who trusted my opinion, professionally and aesthetically.  I felt that Israel was ready for something more than a boring chain store with cheap frames or franchised logo shades. Like everywhere else, the impact of fashion became very prominent here too –people are able to appreciate quality, uniqueness and style. I thought of a store as an old-fashioned establishment, where the clients sit and have coffee and try things on while discussing the latest news, with Nina Simone singing in the background. The interior design was very crucial – my architect friend, Dor Kessel and I came up with the idea of an old-school, masculine, sleek space, which wonderfully coordinated with whites, blacks and chromes of the Tel-Avivian Bauhaus heritage. Basically the store is me –I’m there through the opening hours, listening to the customers, meeting with the stylists, networking –I feel that I need to be there personally for every aspect.”

What are your leading collections now in the store? “I concentrate on eyewear brands only, with an accent on those I can import exclusively. In the sunglasses section, which is more fashion-orientated, my favourites include Zanzan, Vue dc, Oliver Goldsmith, Traction, L.G.R. and Illesteva. I also feature selected collaborations by Mykita and Linda Farrow. In optical my taste is for the more classical and traditional, with a preference for heritage brands like Lunor and KameManNen.”

Close-up, chic styles at Joseph Haver
Close-up, chic styles at Joseph Haver

Can you tell me about the magazine shoots that you participate in; it looks very interesting from your social media images? “It started with my aspiration to be the number one boutique in finding the perfect frames for each customer. Rumours about this brought the stylists in; they felt comfortable enough to share with us the editorial concepts and catalogues they were about to shoot –inspirations, colours, models, and they asked for assistance. We have also collaborated with the local fashion house Yosef for TLV Fashion week show. That was exciting for the store!”

What is the general vibe for shopping in your area in Tel Aviv, is your shop unusual or quite typical there? The store is located on one of the most beautiful shady boulevards in the city, just off Tel-Aviv’s biggest square. The area is known for its cafes, restaurants and small fashion boutiques, which are very popular with Telavivians and the city’s guests who aren’t after the shopping mall experience. I think the store fits here perfectly.  Recently we were elected one of the best 50 businesses in Tel-Aviv by Time Out Tel Aviv, which is a great honour. I do my best to stay in tune with the fashion world, visiting optical fairs, which always excites me, and I continue to update my collection with more exquisite items and “educate” my clientele. My goal is to create my own line, and I’ve already started sourcing.”

Joseph Haver Optometrist, 59 Sderot Chen, Tel-Aviv zip 6416717, Israel