‘Eyewear By Olga’ is a luxury eyewear retailer, or – as the owner likes to call it – an ‘EYE PAD’ founded in 2011 by optician, designer and fashion enthusiast Olga Trentin. The ‘PAD’ is located in the centre of Mississauga, Canada in the neighbourhood of Port Credit. The interior of the store itself is a feast for the eyes; packed with colour, exploding with textiles and featuring artisanal furnishings throughout. The shop first appeared on Eyestylist in October 2011.
We would love it if you could give us a short synopsis of the story / journey behind ‘Eyewear by Olga’…It’s such a funny story actually; I went to visit a friend in an optical store that I frequently shopped at, but my friend was busy serving a client. So, I picked up a frame that caught my eye and handed it to her client swiftly leaving the store afterwards so that I wouldn’t be intruding. Later, my friend told me that her client had purchased the frame I picked for her – and so, I was offered a job at her company as a frame stylist. I loved this job so much that I eventually became an optician and later on, a manager. I was able to learn a lot about the business and realized how much more I had to offer the optical industry. That’s when I decided to go on my own by opening my very own ‘EYE PAD’.
I took a pen and paper and started sketching the ‘PAD’; ribbons on the ceilings was the first idea that came to mind – ribbons are known to fill a space with lots of cheer – I felt that I had to add them to the design. I didn’t want a typical retail look, but something different and yet, timeless. I also didn’t want a cold and clinical office feel, so the ribbons also added that soft element to the design. I then mainly picked warm colours but added a pop of colour with our back wall and chairs. I felt that the chairs in particular had to be unique and so – after doing some research – we found the perfect choice: ‘The Eye Chair’ by Jackie Choi – it was originally a college project of hers that was presented all over Britain from BBC to Harrods and so it became one of my favourite elements to the ‘PAD’. The design feature was a low backrest to support runback for ergonomic reasons but as well as that it makes a strong visual statement; it looks like a hollow eye when viewed head on, they are quite the conversation starter. Our display cases feature a light coloured onyx to bring a certain warmth and a natural feel we wanted to implement, this is also why you won’t find any bright lights in our ‘PAD’ – we want our clients to have a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.
What have been the biggest struggles you and your store have faced through COVID-19? The element of the unknown regarding COVID-19 really frightened us; we closed our store for about three months in order to keep everyone safe. We quickly realized that our industry really was essential because clients were still in need of our services and so we had to find a way to make it work for everyone while being as safe as possible. It was a little bit of a struggle at first, but we managed to make it work; we would order contact lenses online and have them directly delivered to our clients, we would pre-order eyeglass lenses online and have clients do a door drop off with their frames to prevent any contact. When we finally started to open our doors for appointments, we took one client at a time, each customer had a mandatory COVID-19 questionnaire to be filled out, and temperatures were taken at the door. We also disinfected each frame that was tried/touched and disinfected all surfaces between appointments, floors were washed daily as well. Then of course masks were mandatory for everyone and our staff were double masked with shields worn on top too. I think most people understood why we did all of this and felt safe coming in to see us. We all had to work together and we continue to do so to make this strange and scary environment feel as safe as possible for us all.
What are your favourite frames from your current collection and why are they your favourite? Oh wow, so many to choose from! If I had to choose one, I’d say my favourite frame in my current collection is the ‘Dita – Revoir’. It was originally released as a sunglass and is now offered as an ophthalmic. It is such an elegant bridgeless cat-eye and as the ‘Dita’ website describes it “spans the brow to resemble wings extended in flight”. I love the space between the wing point and the lens as it gives it some edge while keeping its elegance overall.
How would you describe the customer base / the typical customer that shops with you? We have such a diverse client base, some like minimalistic styles and some like avant-garde styles although all come to us for two key things: quality and customer service. Our clients come to us in full trust, knowing that we will choose the perfect frame and lenses for their needs and wishes.
What makes your selected line of eyewear products stand out from the crowd? First and foremost, being an independent eyewear boutique gives us the advantage from the “crowd” because we hand pick every model you see in our place. I’d like to say that there are many optical boutiques that carry similar lines, however what sets us apart is our commitment to customer service and customer satisfaction. With many large corporations taking over small independents, it’s extremely important for us to stand out from the “crowd” and show how we differ. By being independent and not corporate owned, we are able to be flexible in many aspects of our business. We have the ability to procure products that meet specific needs of our clients that many other retailers do not.
As life begins to return to a “new normal” we’re trying to make things a little easier for our customers (especially those who are vulnerable) and we’ve decided to permanently change our business hours to private shopping in-store. We don’t have a set schedule any longer but rather incorporate our clients’ schedules into our own. Our ‘Private Shopping Appointments’ are a closed store shopping experience; customers with bookings will enjoy freedom of the store with the undivided attention of our expert Optician and eyewear stylists. This provides a safe and controlled space which can be adapted to their needs, without the added pressure of other customers in store.
In our store, clients will still receive our expert fitting advice and be able to view our full selection of product options, in a safe and carefully controlled environment. Our team can provide the practical and helpful advice clients need to make the right choice of eyewear.
What have been up to since you last spoke to Eyestylist. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a line of my own and in 2020, during lockdown, I was finally able to put my full focus on this project.
My first line; ‘BANE MIRA’ pays homage to my parents, who always supported my career and really helped make all my dreams come true. Each frame is uniquely designed and made with Mazzuchelli acetate and Japanese hinges. Our styles are classic and the colours compliment many face shapes and skin tones, without compromising fit. We currently have twelve styles, each available in two colours. I’m an attempt to make the line feel more personal, I named each model after a member of my family.
I understand you love fashion; do you have any plans to grow ‘Eyewear by Olga’ into other areas of fashion retail? Or do you have any other exciting plans in the near future? We plan on expanding our BANE MIRA collection by adding a children’s line and eventually introduce a sunglass collection. Our focus right now is to make sure we are always available to our clients and that we are giving them precisely what they want and what they need. I believe that everything else will come into place – but who knows what the future holds – one thing is for sure, it’s looking bright! https://eyewearbyolga.com – A feature by Victoria Brunton exclusively for Eyestylist.com.