Eyestylist Exclusive: KEOPS optiikka is a small chain of optical boutiques (three stores) in Finland that curates their collections based on a simple concept: “style is a whole that consists of various choices”, eyewear being one of those choices. This is why the KEOPS range extends from ultra-trendy pieces to more low-key, classic options – ensuring something which caters to every individual’s style. Eyestylist spoke to Kari Asikainen, Chain Manager.
KEOPS has become one of the most highly acclaimed opticians in Finland, with three stores nationwide. What are the origins of the brand? Keops optiikka is well established as it has been operating in the business of eyewear for over forty years. After it’s acquisition in 1995, KEOPS was re-born as the brand we know today. I say re-born as the concept of our chain was polished a few years back; we made the decision to begin bringing in more genuine / independent eyewear labels and we refurbished our stores. The word “KEOPS” refers to the top of the pyramid. We have always recognised our brand as a high-end concept, not only in the unique assortment of eyewear we collect, curate and sell – but also regarding the service we provide to our clients.
As the manager, how would you describe the identity of your brand and your clientele? Our slogan – “Others talk about eyeglasses – we talk about style” describes us well. We see eyewear as part of the individual’s personal style; eyeglasses are an accessory that is in line with the wearers´ identity. Wearing eyewear that you feel comfortable with is more important than whatever is on trend. However, we encourage our customers to have more than just one pair of frames so that they can play a little bit with different styles. Our customers appreciate personal service, impeccable style and good quality. Being able to provide services through different channels is of course important, but we see that personal service is becoming more and more important as a counterforce for online shopping. Appreciation of good personal service is not an important factor only for more mature clientele, but customers of all ages look for a professional and warm customer service experience – one which we strive to provide here.
“Skandi-style” had its moment in the spotlight last year and I think it’s safe to say that moment has made a lasting impact on clothing trends to date. Are you noticing any consumer buying trends? We find that customers tend to buy less but invest in better quality; they also want to invest in themselves more. Personal service is becoming more important. Moreover, consumers tend to study the collections online throughly before even coming to the store.
KEOPS recently collaborated with SALT. Optics – a brand inspired by ‘effortless beauty’ and ‘human connection’ – could you tell us a little about how this collaboration transpired, as well as about the collaboration itself? We have had a very good collaboration with SALT., ever since we started working together in 2016. SALT. ‘s customer service – as a brand – is excellent, and they deliver promptly. They are also really fun to work with. The product is perfectly in line with our concept, and the brand has gained a solid customer base among our clientele. We do trunk shows and window campaigns twice a year and the recent collaboration was related to our autumn trunk show. The collaboration also partnered with a Christmas giveaway campaign wherein one SALT. customer from each KEOPS store would have a chance to win another pair of SALT. frames; this proved very successful.
The pandemic we have all endured over the past two years – and continue to do so – has made a lasting impact on all businesses in a multitude of ways. How did KEOPS navigate the extraordinary circumstances brought about by COVID-19? The pandemic has definitely had a substantial impact on our business, especially in the greater Helsinki area and in other larger cities in Finland. As a safety procedure, we closed all of our stores for a few weeks when the pandemic started; our employees’ safety was and still is the number one priority for us. Disinfecting frames after a customer has tried them on and sanitising the eye examination rooms before and after every examination has become a new normal procedure. We have noticed that many customers have had to postpone their purchase of new glasses, which has affected many customers’ eyesight. Thanks to our solid, loyal customer base we have been able to navigate the situation pretty well and have been able to continue planning and organising for next year. COVID-19 will most likely stay with us for quite some time; we just need to find solid tools to run the business and maintain our safety measures at a high level, in order to serve our customers and protect our staff in the best way possible.
It clearly states in KEOPS’ philosophy that style is paramount to the brand, and so I assume to its founder – do you / KEOPS plan on developing this passion for style into a line of ‘own-brand’ frames in the future? That would be very intriguing. However, we have no such plans for the near future.
Sustainability is an issue that’s importance only continues to grow each day. To what extent, if any, does KEOPS implement environmentally friendly and / or sustainable practices into the business? Sustainability is very important for us, and we are constantly developing new ways to become more sustainable. Luckily, we are already doing many things relating to diversity and inclusion as well as some other endeavours regarding our environmental and social responsibilities. Taking care of peoples’ eyes with our thorough eye examination and being able to find early detections of possible eye diseases, may even save someone’s life – that is sustainability to us, in its simplest form.
We are also against throw-away culture and believe that buying a good quality product that lasts a long time is the key to sustainable living. We are, among other things, in the process of cutting down the number of brochures we produce in order to save paper and to avoid waste. We are also currently looking into an innovative way of recycling the old frames customers return to us. Even our lab – based in Tallinn – has been built based on sustainability, with many innovative systems such as waterless lens glazing and the reuse of waste heat generated from glazing machines. This feature was written by Victoria G. L. Brunton exclusively for Eyestylist.com – all rights reserved. To find out more about KEOPS optiikka, visit www.keops.fi – Special thanks to SALT. Optics and KEOPS optiikka for their collaboration in this feature.